Work At Your Goal With All Your Heart

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble -- burned as they are?"
Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, "What they are building  -- even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!" 
Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
So, we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.     Nehemiah 4:1-6

Sanballat and Tobiah were angry that Nehemiah and the Jews were rebuilding the wall. Their anger stemmed from the fact that rebuilding the wall would ensure the well-being of the Jews. Jerusalem used to be a prosperous and heavily fortified city, and the walls and massive gates ensured that enemies of the Jews could not easily attack the city. Typically, those walls would have watchmen placed on patrol to keep an eye on possible outside attacks. But now Jerusalem was a decimated city with broken walls and burnt gates because God had allowed their enemies to attack and destroy their beloved city because of their atrocious sins of idolatry.

But our compassionate God had graciously sent Nehemiah to rebuild the wall and plans were also underway to rebuild the temple. It was evident that there was an undergoing effort for the restoration of the spiritual lives as well as the peace and well-being of Jerusalem. This is what incensed the enemies of the Jews. This is what caused them to oppose, ridicule and taunt the Jews. Their goal was to discourage the Jews from pursuing their vision.

Nehemiah and the Jews responded to the threats and opposition by doing two things:
First, they called upon God in prayer saying, "hear us, our God, for we are despised."
The Jews recognized the fact that they could not fight back in their own strength but they could rely on the Almighty God for help. Our God is a Mighty Warrior and great in battle.

When you are despised, ridiculed, taunted and opposed because of your vision or God-given assignment, call upon the God who gave that vision to you. Don't fight back with insults and taunts. That will not work! Simply call upon God in prayer and He will give you wisdom, grace, and strength to handle the situation. The words of the apostle Paul are worth noting as a source of encouragement: "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest upon me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) This mindset was the result of the assurance he received from Christ that His grace would always be sufficient for him. As you call upon God in the face of opposition, He will strengthen you to press on with the vision. His grace is sufficient for you.

Second, Nehemiah and the Jews worked hard at rebuilding the wall with all their heart: "So, we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart." So, not only did the Jews pray, but they also put in the practical and laborious work of working with all their heart. They put in the necessary "blood, sweat and tears" needed to accomplish the vision. As you pursue your vision, don't stay in the prayer closet "exclusively"! Do what is necessary practically and God will bless and reward the work of your hands.

Prayer: Father, I thank you that your grace is sufficient to see me through the vision you have planted in my heart. Please help me to put my hands to the plow with hard work and dedication even as I continue to call upon you in prayer. Amen.