One of the greatest restoration and revival movements that you can read about is the story of Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem.
Nehemiah set out to rebuild, revive, and restore His city. As Nehemiah begins the process of rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem. His adversaries mounted a campaign to distract, Nehemiah from his mission.
The reason for the attacks or distractions is that enemies of Jerusalem and the people of God didn’t want there to be any protection for them. A wall would mean a major shift in political power and a shift in commerce.
The main distractor was Sanballat. Sanballat enjoyed Jerusalem remaining in the status quo. He enjoyed the city being in disrepair. He had a vested interest in Jerusalem remaining weak and indefensible.
His first mode of attack was that of ridiculing and mocking those that were rebuilding the wall. I’ve experienced this greatly in my first six years of pastoring. It is very easy for those that enjoy the status quo to sit back and jeer those that have a passion or a mission to rebuild the places of God. Those that distract, oppose, mock, and ridicule have a vested interest in the people and places of God remaining defenseless. They like our cities in disrepair, weak, and without order.
Nehemiah built the wall, in spite of the distractions and ridiculing of Sanballat. Once Sanballat realized that the ridiculing and mocking wasn’t working. He adjusted his plan of attack. He changed to fear, entrapment, and political maneuvering. Sanballat did all that he could do to keep the wall from advancing and becoming complete.
No doubt, God has given you a mission, a passion, to see your family, church, or city changed through revival and restoration. As you embark on the noble cause. Be prepared for your very own Sanballat.
Sanballat will ridicule you, mock, and belittle you and the work that you are doing. When that doesn’t work, the attack will shift. Fear, entrapment, and political maneuvering will begin. However, like Nehemiah you also can finish the mission. You can rebuild your family, your church, and your city.
Nehemiah was able to overcome the distractions and rebuild the wall.
- He understood that with a great vision, there would be distractions and distractors.
- He never stepped away from the mission to deal with the distractions!
- He trusted that God would protect him.
- He kept the main thing the main thing. He never lost sight that his passion was to build the wall, not deal with Sanballat.
When Nehemiah was ridiculed and jeered, He relied on God. (Nehemiah 4:4-5). When there was resistance to the mission, Nehemiah made sure that he was aware of any attack that might come against them. He headed them off at the pass. He remained watchful, vigilant, but the work continued. (Nehemiah 4:7-9). When there was rumor and speculation, Nehemiah reassured the people, He told them “remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren…” (Nehemiah 4:11-14). Nehemiah also reinforced any weak areas in the mission. (Nehemiah 4:13). He made sure that any area of the mission that appeared weak, would be reinforced and strengthened.
In spite of all the attacks Nehemiah refused to quit (Nehemiah 4:15). One of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve heard, as a pastor, was to never resign on a Monday. Most often Mondays can be some the most emotionally tough days for a pastor. You’ve spent your Sunday rebuilding walls, reviving, and restoring. And then your personal Sanballat enters in and begins to ridicule all that was accomplished. You feel like it’s worthless. You’re ready to give in and give up. Don’t quit, don’t give up. Persistence is the ultimate gauge of leadership. Outlast your critics. Refuse to quit and give up. Now, go and renew and strengthen the people again. The quickest way to stop a great work is to stop a great leader. Don’t let a Sanballat stop you!
Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses. (Nehemiah 4:14)
Nehemiah 4:1-23 & 6:1-19