Summary: When reason fails, some turn to ridicule. They choose laughter over logic. Should the Christian respond? If so, how? Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
Responding to Ridicule
Sanballat has always lived in every time, and taken form in every church. He and others like him believe if God's kingdom is built up it will hurt their cause. They don't want to see it happen. They want to hurt that cause. One of the chief weapons they use is ridicule.
Any time the people of God say, Let us rise up and build, there will be a Sanballat and his crowd that will rise up and blast. Let's not be surprised by this. But it's not easy to stand up to ridicule. Many Christians will stand bravely when being shot at, but collapse when being laughed at.
Peer pressure in young people is powerful, and we all are young at heart in this matter. But the largest cult today is the cult of conformity. We want to fit in. And if we try to stand out at all we end up the butt of the joke. The world doesn't understand Jesus, His church, and His people. We want to fit in on both sides, but we must choose sides and accept that many will laugh at our standards and beliefs. Ultimately we must choose who we are trying to please-God or man. What's more important, my Christian testimony, or my public persona or reputation.
Elijah said, "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him."
Joshua said, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve."
Jesus said, "I wish you were cold or hot"...not trying to ride the fence.
If you are not facing ridicule as a believer, you must not be taking your stand for the right. "All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." It's a privilege to be persecuted.
It is with pride that I take my stand where God tells me to. I wear as a badge of honor the shame some try to inflict upon me. God is my defender and my rewarder. Some who are looking for a church that takes a stand may find it thru the criticisms some place upon those stands.
20 ...If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;
The nature of ridicule:
-They ridiculed God's people as being feeble.
v. 1-2a The world measures things by size, by numbers, by finances and power. But God delights in using feeble things.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
God gets great glory by doing big things thru small people.
-They ridiculed the task as being futile.
v. 2 "It can't be done! No need to even try!" he said.
According to v. 1-2 there's a big crowd gathered. And there's a small group of Jews working. He's mocking the workers and the crowd roars w/ laughter!
Let's reenact -- I'll read each mocking question in v. 2 and you respond w/ the heartiest laughter you can fake [like you do w/ my jokes!]
ill.--imagine you are back in school and an assembly is called and you all go to the gym. The principal calls YOU to the stage, and you go up, thinking you are going to be honored in some way, but then he starts making fun of you, and everyone laughs, he insults you, and the crowd roars...someone sneaks up behind you and pulls your pants down, and everyone is rolling on the floor and pointing.
This is how it was for Nehemiah and his crew. But what Sanballat failed to recognize was that God was standing behind His people. And though it sometimes looks like the world is winning and we are such a minority that we are having no effect, or we're just a bunch of weirdoes...remember, we are on the winning side...read the back of the book!
President Woodrow Wilson, "I would rather temporarily fail with a cause that will ultimately win than to temporarily win with a cause that must ultimately fail."
-They ridiculed their faith as being foolish.
v. 2b "Will they sacrifice?" He's making fun of their religion. This is blasphemy, they are calling their beliefs foolish. And it continues today.
18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
"Virgins don't give birth, and angels don't sing, and no one can rise from the dead, and I've never seen anyone riding on a white horse!"