When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, Nehemiah 4:1
When attempting to do something great, most people will have some enemies. There will be opposition to what is being done.
There will be two main types of enemies that a person can have. One is the type that thinks what is being done is crazy and strives to discourage it. They reject the idea of doing something great. This type of enemy is very common.
The other type of enemy is those who physically strive to stop the work. Stopping can be done by physically harming the person or by sabotaging the work in some manner. Blocks are put up as fast as possible to stop the work from being accomplished.
Nehemiah and the Israelites were working on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Sanballat and several others saw this and were very angry about it. They did not want the city rebuilt, so they set out to stop the people.
Opposition to the things of God has not changed over the years. Jesus was opposed by many people when He walked on the earth, and ultimately gave His life because of opposition, though God used that death. The disciples were often imprisoned and tortured for the doing the work of God.
Believers today are often opposed. As believers stand for life, some oppose them saying they are being insensitive to the desires of people. As believers work to build God’s kingdom, the enemy tries to stop them in many ways. Rules are put in place against believers, false reports are given, and in many places their lives are threatened.
Sometimes this opposition even occurs inside the church. People do not like to change and want to stay in their old ways.
Know that as soon as you begin to do God’s work, the enemy will rise up to attempt to stop you. You will be ridiculed and held back at times. Hold fast to God and continue to do His work. Even Jesus was opposed, so you are in good company.
God can give you the wisdom and strength to keep going forward in the face of the opposition. Working for God and doing His mission is an eternal perspective, not the temporal view the world has. Don’t give in to the opposition, but do God’s work.
I pray today that you will know the work God has for you to do; that God will give you favor and strength to do His work; that God will remove fear of the enemy; and that God will protect you from the strikes of the enemy.
When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.” Isaiah 10:12
Judah, the southern nation of the split Israel, had chosen to walk away from God and follow false gods. God chose to punish them by using the king of Assyria to take over the land and crush Jerusalem. The king of Assyria did not follow God in any way and was very harsh in his treatment of the Israelites.
Judah and all the Israelites were an enemy to Assyria, so as the king of Assyria conquered Judah and Jerusalem, he did it with great pride. He considered himself better than the Israelites. God saw his heart and promised that once the punishment of Judah was done, He would punish the king of Assyria for his pride.
Pride over the destruction of an enemy is something that many people have. They like to see the enemy fall. It is especially great pride when the enemy falls at their own hands and power.
The world feels that pride is a good thing. Everyone deserves to be proud when they are able to crush and destroy their enemy.
Yet, God hates pride. Pride looks at self and says that self did it all. The only reason the king of Assyria was able to destroy Jerusalem was because God allowed it to happen. In himself, the king had no real power.
The same is true in your own life. In yourself you have no real power. All of your abilities have been given to you by God. There may come times when God allows you to crush your enemy. When this occurs, it should not be done with great pride.
Jesus said that we are to love our enemies. Having pride in their destruction does not display true love. As a follower of Jesus, you should be weeping over the destruction of your enemy. You should be praying for their souls and redemption.
Jesus redeemed you when you were His enemy. Can you not do the same for your enemies?
Remove pride from your life and allow God to work through you to touch others for Jesus.
I pray today that God will reveal any pride in your heart; that God will strengthen you to remove all pride; that you will remain humble before God; and that God will use you to touch many lives for Jesus.
LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, Psalm 7:1
David was being pursued by men trying to capture and kill him. He called out to God to protect him from his enemies who were after him.
People are chased by enemies all the time. Some of these enemies are physical ones, out to do harm, as was in the case with David. Most are not physical enemies, but spiritual enemies that try to rob the soul of the abundant life God wanted each person to have.
These enemies come in the form of hunger, debt, greed, jealousy, suffering, pain, sickness, pride, and the list goes on forever. These are things that attempt to pull a person away from God. Most of these bring on a spirit of fear and will cripple a person in his walk with God.
As people are chased by these things, often they look to the world to protect them. Many live in fear because of these enemies. They seek a new leader in the government, government programs, doing good things, going to church, going to friends, and other ways.
There is nothing saying that some of these things are not good, but they are not the real protection a person needs. None of these will provide true rest and protection for very long.
As you are going through life, there will be enemies that pursue you. Do not live in fear of your enemies. Do not be like the world and go to the world’s ways for protection. Those ways are only temporary and will fall.
David took up his place of peace and safety in God. He trusted God and God alone to protect and save him from all his enemies.
Turn to God and take up your refuge in Him. Seek God on a daily basis, even hourly or every minute, for your protection. Cry out to God for His mercy to protect you.
God is there for you, not against you. He is the One who is in control of the entire universe. He made everything, so He can also protect you and give you the peace and rest you need from all of your enemies.
I pray today that you will find rest in God alone; that God will remove fear of any enemy in your life; that you God will strengthen you to not be overcome by any enemy; and that you will be His witness in this world.
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3
David was writing this at the time he was running away for his life from his son Absalom. Everywhere he looked someone was trying to kill him. Everyone seemed to be his enemy, even his family. In spite of this, David knew that God was his shield and would protect him. God would be the one who would lift him up.
As people go through life, there are times when it seems that everyone is against them. A person is cut down by those at work, then goes home and is hated by his own family. Trouble seems to be everywhere he looks.
Most people are not in a place where their physical life is constantly being threatened. However, many have their character threatened and challenged on a regular basis. People tell lies about someone, spread false rumors, ignore, overlook, refuse to listen to, and many other ways of harming another person. Along with all of this some are also under the threat of their physical life. And this is just in the world.
Now add in the believer. Not only is the world against the believer in Jesus, there are many in the church the go against him. Rumors run like crazy in a church, members undercut other people, refuse to allow one to help in ministry, force others into a ministry they do want, and the list goes on.
No matter who you are, there are times your life will be under attack. As with David, it may feel like the entire world is against you and out to destroy you in any way possible. The pressure on your life will be great.
The thing to keep at the front of your mind is that God is with you and will be your shield. There is nothing that anyone can do without God’s permission. Look at the life of Job and how he was attacked, but only under the permission of God.
God will shield your life from anything happening that is not directly in His will. He will lift you up. He will hold you up and sustain you through all the attacks of the enemy.
Trust God today for protection. Give Him praise today for protecting you.
I pray today that you will feel God’s shield around you; that you will trust God’s protection; that you will trust God’s plan for your life; and that you will fear no enemies at all.
“Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.” Romans 9:27
Paul quotes Isaiah 10:22 in this verse. During the time of Isaiah, the nation of Israel was about to be overcome and destroyed as a nation. They had stopped following God and were worshipping idols and He was about to destroy them. Yet, God left a remnant to be saved. There were still a few that followed Him faithfully.
About 600 years later, the quote was able to be used again. The Israelites were refusing to really follow God. This time, however, they were rejecting Jesus in trying to following God. There were several million Israelites, yet only a remnant were going to be saved. Only a few would actually choose to follow Jesus.
Now fast-forward to today and the scene is really no different. Although today one can look at the entire world and all the people of every nation, rather than just Israel. There are approximately 7 billion people on the earth. Estimates say that about 2.2 billion are Christian. This number includes anyone who claims to be Christian. It does not weed out those who never go to church, read the Bible, or pray, but just claim Christ in name only. That number is about 32% of the world’s population.
This means only 1 out of every 3 people claim Jesus is some form or other. Remember that Jesus said not everyone who claims His name will be saved. It is only those who do His will.
There is only a small remnant of people today who will be saved. Only a small remnant who will actually do what God wants them to do. Only a small remnant who will stand strong for God’s ways. Only a small remnant who will strive to be holy as Jesus is holy. Only a small remnant who will be a light in this dark world. Only a small remnant who will love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Only a small remnant who will love their neighbors and enemies as God loves them.
Are you one of the remnant? Or will you be like the many who claim God, but rejected Jesus? Will you be saved in the end?
I pray today that you will love God with everything in you; that you will do the will of God for your life; that you will be a part of His remnant who will be saved; that you will be His witness in this world; and that you will love all others as Jesus loves them.