Journey Through The Scriptures


Lesson 2: Building in the Face of Opposition

(Scripture to Read: Nehemiah 3:14:23)

The qualities that had made Nehemiah such a highly regarded and reliable servant of the king in Persia quickly became apparent after he arrived in Jerusalem. He brought the various Jewish families and clans together to work on Jerusalem’s walls. Nehemiah knew what needed to be done, and how it needed to be done, and proceeded as a master motivator and organizer to move the difficult work forward. Even in the face of threat and danger, he stayed the course and convinced the men of Jerusalem to work toward the goal. There was plenty of trouble around, because some prominent officials in the region became angry at the Jews’ rebuilding efforts.

Sanballat is referred to as the governor of Samaria in later historical writings, and Tobiah was a leader of the Ammonites—enemies of Israel for many centuries. These men and the others with them had no desire to see Jerusalem rebuilt and become strong once more. They posed such a military threat that Nehemiah had to become a military leader as well, organizing and arming his workers to protect the wall building efforts. When the Jews’ enemies saw that they were willing to build with one hand and fight with the other, they backed off for the time being. But more than military presence.

Study Questions

  1. Why did Nehemiah pray that God would thwart the Jews’ enemies (4:45)?
  2. Why did Nehemiah’s enemies oppose this work so vehemently?
  3. Why did the Jews’ enemies give up this particular attempt to attack them?
  4. Why did Nehemiah continue to keep his forces on a high state of military alert?

Something to Think About

Determination made the difference for Nehemiah. He was determined to follow the Lord’s plan, no matter how hard it became. This can be a wonderful example for us when we face hardships, because many times our first inclination is to lose heart and give up in the face of opposition.