“But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?’ ” Nehemiah 4:1-2
I have a very strong aversion to having people unhappy with me. I will do almost anything to avoid it and it gives me a great deal of anxiety and stress when there’s nothing I can do to steer clear of it.
But here’s the thing, you can’t possibly make everybody happy.
People have competing desires so almost without fail if you make one person happy someone else will be put out with you.
Some people, also seem to not want to be happy with anything anyone does. It’s like they think their not properly fulfilling their function in the world if they’re not finding fault or getting upset about something so you can never satisfy them no matter what.
But probably the biggest factor for a God fearing person is the fact that you’re living to love and please God and there are several billion people in the world that are not God, that don’t have his values, and have very different opinions on what God ought to want and be like.
Nehemiah has further garnered to himself the displeasure of Sanballat and his cronies and they take turns publicly mocking and venting invective regarding the rebuilding activities of the Jews as they restore Jerusalem’s walls.
Sanballat’s diatribe is included as our focus text for today’s post. I’ve included it so you can get an idea of what to expect when you too come to cross purposes with someone else in your service to God. If you want to read what Tobiah wrote take a look at the verse three of Nehemiah chapter four.
Now we turn to Nehemiah’s response. He didn’t respond to the opposition. Most of the time responding to detractors is a waste of time and sometimes it’s worse. It’s like adding fuel to the fire. Far better to do what Nehemiah did. He gave them to God.
Specifically he called to God asking that he take notice of their words and to turn their reproach back upon them. He then goes on to request that God take care of punishing those that would set out to discourage those that were engaged in doing the work of God.
To often we argue with our detractors; far better to do what Nehemiah did and give them to God.