DAY 4: STUDY TIME!
Opposition! Ugh! No one likes opposition, but I’ve heard it said, "As surely as you set out to do something for God, someone will surely come to oppose it."
Opposition gets us into a place of considering, or reconsidering, if what we are doing is a good idea or a God idea. There is a difference. I have good ideas all the time, seriously, I do. I have great ideas, in fact. The problem is that I have so many ideas I have to really sort through them and ask, “is this a good idea, or a God idea?” all the time.
Nehemiah prayed, fasted, went to his leader, and had much confirmation before the opposition came. He was firmly set in his calling to the task before him when he set out to do it. How quickly do you and I doubt what we are called to do, even when we have done our due diligence in fasting, praying, seeking counsel, see God's favor supply, etc? I think it’s human to have doubts. But doubting was not what Nehemiah’s response was.
READ NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 4
Now, this is one of the best chapters in the book in my opinion because there is so much “real” in it that I can apply to my life right away. There is so, so much to talk about, but I’ll just highlight one thing.
“… and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.” Neh. 4:9
The impact that the opposition had on Nehemiah? It increased his RESOLVE. The night watch was established after opposition arose. See, the church today in America is now receiving a little opposition, and frankly, dare I say, it might be good for us? Being challenged on your beliefs makes you really look deeply on the inside. What do you really believe? What does the Bible really say?
The workers were challenged by these men, and the ‘trials’ or ‘accusations’ didn’t cause Nehemiah fear. His response was to get more organized and set a night & day watch. I guess what really hit me here was that God used opposition to set them in position with even more resolve. Typically, opposition brings discouragement, fear, or weakening to us, but in this case it was the opposite.
An interesting thought, would the night watchmen have been established if there was never a threat in the first place? The security of the city was a big deal, and in the past the walls didn’t remain, they obviously needed more security and more resolve. It looks to me like God used this opposition to their benefit in the end.
REFLECTIONS FOR TODAY
I realize not everyone is called to what we now say as "the Watchmen" calling. (That is sometimes a term used to describe someone called to full-time intercession, or the modern-day priesthood) But there is a part of "soberness of spirit" that all believers are called to. The thing about the watchmen here, and specifically Nehemiah, was that it was not the priesthood. These were 'laymen' with a sober spirit and a mind to work (vs.6). There is a "priest-like" quality about these laymen simply because they count their work to be sacred. I believe their hearts had to be awakened by God to be able to come into such unity and get this wall up, diligently, not getting distracted, in such a short period of time. If you were really to be honest, are you operating now with a "sober" or "awakened" heart?
I love how in verse 14 Nehemiah speaks to the people and tells them to "remember" who God is, "great and awesome!" The other day I asked my 6 year old son if he knew what a prophet was. He replied, "Of course, it's a man that reminds kings who God is." A matter-of-factly. Wow. We need remind each other who God is regularly!! Take a few moments and meditate on this. Has God done something amazing in your life that has demonstrated His character to you? Take a minute to remember some of the things He has done that have personally impacted you. What does that say about His character? His nature? Journal some of these things down and stir up remembrance.
Having a confident "resolve" has everything to do with knowing God intimately. What are some things you can do to draw closer to God in this season you are in? For me, I am committing to more time in the Word. I just hunger for the Word and I am committing to being in the Word day and night. In order to do that I am having to cut out some other stuff. He desires to know you intimately, what are some things He's showing you that will increase intimacy with Him?
A PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father I desire to be closer to You, to know You the way You desire to know me. Thank You for all the times You have revealed Yourself to me. Help me to walk so closely with You that I will not fall to distractions or opposition. That through every season my resolve would be sure and steadfast in You. Today, I commit to growing deeper in my relationship with You, draw me in, I love You Lord, amen.