Check out Nehemiah when he visited the returning exiled Jews in Jerusalem. After three days in Jerusalem, ( he had been travelling 1450 klm over 14 weeks) Nehemiah decided to check out the walls of the city for himself but at night, telling no-one of his plans till he had seen the devastation for himself. He told the people of God's hand in the planning of this visit, and how God wanted the people to rebuild the walls of the city. The people's response? "Let us start building"!
No sooner had they started than Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem commenced their opposition to the project, for if the building of the walls succeeded, their positions of authority would be reduced. They did not want the walls to be built and they tried every which way to stop the project. Sound familiar? Because Nehemiah's relationship with God was so cemented in prayer, Nehemiah was able to respond to the opposition and criticism from these officials with confidence, stating,"The God of heaven is the one who will give us success..." They did succeed but it wasn't easy, working with a sword in one hand and tools in the other.
As I read the story of Nehemiah yet again, I am reminded of his total dependence on God, a result of his time spent in God's presence. His confident and common sense approach to this daunting task is so refreshing after all the political correctness of today's society and the effort to offend no-one, resulting in many words but little action. Nehemiah knew that God wanted the walls to be rebuilt and nothing was going to stop that happening.
" The joy of the Lord is your strength" and " You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (from Nehemiah chapters 8 and 9) are just two of the wonderful verses found in this book which is such a great reflection of Nehemiah's deep and trusting relationship with God.
This was how Nehemiah succeeded in the face of fierce opposition.