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Opposition in Nehemiah (Ridicule)

Nehemiah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts

Nehemiah 4:1–6 NIV84
1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 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?” 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!” 4 Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 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. 6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.

Those who ridicule deal with internal sin

Notice what scripture says about how Sanballat felt when he heard that the wall was being built:
He was:
Angry
Greatly incensed
He ridiculed them
Do we know people who constantly make fun of others or spend their time cutting down instead of building up?
These people struggle with an internal sin that they haven’t repented of and received forgiveness.

Those who ridicule need an audience

2ridicule transitive verb
rid•i•culed; rid•i•cul•ing

Those who ridicule need a friend

(circa 1700)
: to make fun of
rid•i•cul•er noun
synonymy ridicule, deride, mock, taunt mean to make an object of laughter of. ridicule implies a deliberate often malicious belittling
Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1996).
Part of this sin is the need to include others in your sin.
Check out what verse 2 says:
“in the presence of his associates”
“and the army of Samaria”
The other part of this sin is to aim the ridicule at someone:
He aims them at the workers (4:2) “feeble Jews”
He aims it at the work itself. “will they restore the wall, offer sacrifices, finish in a day, bring the stones back to life?” (Toby’s translation)
He ridicules the materials they are using.
Burnt stones and heaps of rubble.
All of this ridicule is being done in the presence of an audience.

Those who ridicule need a friend

Think about this old adage. “Misery loves company.”
Think about a time you may have been ridiculed; who was there?
You
The person doing the ridiculing
ANOTHER PERSON (PEOPLE) TO LISTEN
Rarely do people ridicule in private. They want others to hear what they are saying to you.
They don’t care that they embarrass themselves and others.
Check out ole Tobiah:
“who was at his side”
He chimes in as well. “even if a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their walls.”
Friends, be careful with whom you spend the majority of your time with.
We want and need unbelieving friends, but we also need to be challenged and encouraged by those who are further along in the faith, can provide a good example, and can lift us up.
Listen to this illustration from Spurgeon’s sermon notes:
“It is possible that fellow-professors may hinder. We are often obliged to accommodate our pace to that of our fellow-travelers. If they are laggards, we are very likely to be so, too. We are apt to sleep as do others. We are stimulated or depressed, urged on or held back by those with whom we are associated in Christian fellowship. There is still greater reason to fear that in many cases worldly friends and companions are the hinderers. Indeed, they can be nothing else. None can help us in the race but those who are themselves running it; all others must hinder. Let a Christian form an intimate friendship with an ungodly person, and from that moment all progress is stayed. He must go back; for when his companion is going in the opposite direction, how can he walk with him except by turning his back upon the path which he has formerly trodden?”

Answer those who ridicule with petitions to the Lord

Proverbs 12:16 NIV84
16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
Proverbs 12:
Proverbs 13:16 ESV
16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
Proverbs 14:7 ESV
7 Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
Proverbs 18:2 ESV
2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
Proverbs 18:7 ESV
7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
Check out
Nehemiah 4:4 NIV84
4 Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.
Nehemiah 4:4 ESV
4 Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives.
Nehemiah 4:5 NIV84
5 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.
See what Nehemiah did? He appealed directly to God.
Let’s see what he didn’t do now:
He didn’t cower to the ridicule.
He didn’t answer them in kind.
He didn’t use violence.
Nehemiah not only turned to the Lord in his time of trouble, but he turned the matter over to Him.
No one here wants to be ridiculed, made fun of, or made the end of a joke.
But when lost people act like lost people and say ugly things we can learn from Nehemiah and turn to the Lord.
He wants us to bring the matter to Him and He wants to fight for us.
Exodus 14:14 NIV84
14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
When Pharoah was chasing the Israelites, this is what God told them.
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