Answering the Call

As we pursue God’s will, He will provide the wisdom and strength needed to face any opposition.

Nehemiah 6:9-14

When we submit to God and allow Him to rebuild our broken places, we can expect opposition. Nehemiah’s efforts to restore Jerusalem were threatened by Sanballat and others. In a similar way, we have an enemy who opposes the work God is doing in our life—an antagonist who does everything possible to discourage and distract us. When that happens, we can echo Nehemiah’s prayer: “Now, God, strengthen my hands” (Neh. 6:9).

Today’s passage tells of a hindrance involving Shemaiah—an Israelite who advised Nehemiah to preserve his life by hiding from his enemies (v. 10). This incident suggests that even people from whom we seek wisdom might at times obey the voice of fear and ignore the bigger picture. Once Nehemiah refused to listen to the anxiety-driven advice, his eyes were opened. Then he saw Shemaiah for who he was: a false friend hired by Sanballat.

When answering the call to partner with God in the work of renewal, we have a choice: Give in to distress, or heed the voice that promises, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5). The Lord wants us to say “no” to fear. Although we may be tempted to despair at the brokenness around and within us, we can cling to God’s promise of restoration and entrust our life to the One who makes all things new.