Sanballat … mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Do you remember saying that as a kid? It was a way to try to ignore the insults that kids so often share with each other. But, as we grow up we learn that words do hurt and often times hurt more than the sticks and stones. Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem were about to learn that lesson as their work was being insulted and ridiculed. They would grow tired and frustrated from these lies and the opposition they were constantly facing.
There are lies that flow all around us that sound very similar to what Nehemiah and the people were dealing with. We hear all the time that we incapable of change or success. We don’t have what it takes and will never make it. We aren’t good enough, smart enough, fast enough, or enough of anything. What success we have experienced or victories we have been able to achieve wont last. The list can go on and on of the lies that are out there and that find their ways into our minds. They are dangerous, because if we are not on our toes we will start to believe them and we will end up discouraged and fearful.
When we start hearing the lies we need to do what Nehemiah did – pray. Twice in Nehemiah 4 he went to the Lord in prayer. Twice he encouraged the people to remember who God was, how awesome He is and that He was fighting for them. He didn’t try to pretend that the lies and threats didn’t impact them. He said, this is tough stuff, but our God is tougher. With the prayers and the reminders of God’s faithfulness they kept going, they kept building.
Don’t listen to the lies today – listen to God and seek Him. God will make it (whatever we are seeking in Him, victory in Jesus), because He who is leading you and calling you is faithful. God will do it!
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.