In Nehemiah: 2: 19-20 we read: “But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that you do? Will you rebel against the king? Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
Anytime God’s people say, in their personal life, or in their corporate life, “Let us rise up and build,” all the hosts of Hell will say, “Let us rise up and stop them.” The door to the room of opportunity swings on the hinges of opposition. If you think there is an easy way, a cheap way, a lazy way, to do the work of God, forget it. The Apostle Paul said, “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries”-many adversaries (1 Corinthians 16:9).
When we have an open door, that doesn’t mean there are not any adversaries. When God calls us to do this something great with Him, do you think it’s going to be easy? Well, it’s not. Our Lord is not calling us to a Sunday school picnic; but to a grim conflict.
Nehemiah was confronted by three wicked men, who were demon inspired, and they represent the devil himself, in this story. We are coming against the demonized, mobilized forces of Hell in this world. Whenever we decide to do anything great and noble and good, there will be plenty of people, who will say, “Let’s stop them. Let’s stop them.” They don’t like anything that’s built for the name of Jesus and the cause of Christ.
Think of the names the Bible gives to the devil: deceiver, liar, murderer, accuser, tempter, destroyer, the evil one. These things are enough to tell you something about the character of the one who will oppose us. Yet, opposition ought not to discourage us; it ought to encourage us.
I’ve learned a little secret. Whenever I come to minister or travel a long distance to serve in the work of the Lord, “things happen.” Things happen that you cannot plan for. People will say terrible, negative things or a lot of problems will come my way.
If we are not careful, “these things” can bother us. However, we need to realize that the devil is upset. Think about this for a moment. Would you rather be a person, living the kind of life that makes the devil mad or live the kind of life that the devil thinks is no threat to him or his dark kingdom?
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Have you fixed your focus on that thing which God has called you to do? Have you found the facts, dear friend? Have you formed a fellowship? Have you fortified your faith? Have you faced your foe? Don’t worry about your foe; let him be an encouragement to you. If there are people who say something bad about you, don’t worry about it. Learn to move past it.
Let me tell you how to escape criticism. They’ll criticize you for saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. They’ll criticize you if say something, do something or become something. There’s not a way you’re going to escape criticism: forget it. There will always be Sanballat, a Geshem and an Arabian to say, “What do you think you’re up to? What do you think you’re doing?” Well, face your foe with faith and move forward with the Lord!