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Bible GemLights


Nehemiah Faces Ridicule

By Pete Macinta

The Holy Bible presents some principles we can follow in order to shrug off the ridicule and keep moving ahead.

It was around the year 445 B.C. when Nehemiah, a Jewish cupbearer for Artaxerxes, king of Persia, heard some distressing news. Visitors from Judah told him (Nehemiah 1:3), "The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire."

Crushed by the news, Nehemiah sought the Lord God in earnest prayer which birthed a desire within him to do something about the situation. However, this would require him to be excused for a period of time from his duties of cupbearer. So he asked God for mercy for when he would go before King Artaxerxes with his request. The King gave him permission to go to Jerusalem.

While we can be sure that Nehemiah was pleased at the king's permission, others were not, for we read in Nehemiah 2:10, "When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel."

After he arrived in Jerusalem, Nehemiah inspected the wall and the gates under the cover of night and found them to be in horrible shape. With the help of God he soon mustered a team of workers, and repairs and rebuilding commenced, as did the public ridicule of the Jews by Sanballat and Tobiah.

Nehemiah 4:1-6 shows us how Nehemiah handled the problem of ridicule, and gives us three steps that we can follow that will help us turn our back upon mockery, whether stated or implied, and continue to personally progress.

It is apparent from reading this passage that Sanballat and Tobiah did not love God nor His people. They were led by their sinful nature which was more in tune with satan (I avoid capitalizing that name) than God.

Sadly, this is true for most people because we are all born with a sinful nature (see Romans 3:10 and 7:18). When we become the target for ridicule, we will benefit greatly when we look past the human source of mockery, view the origen of the attack, take it to God in prayer, and continue what we are or what we are doing as long as it truly brings glory to God.

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"O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates and thy gates of rubies, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD, and great shall be the peace of thy children." --- Isaiah 54:11-13

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