On Sunday we talked about how to overcome the “Sanballat’s and Tobiah’s” in your life. These are the people who seek to hurt, harm, and wreck your God-given and driven dream. These are the people who when you share, “I feel called to….” immediately say “You?” You can’t do that, you’re not ready, you’re not the right person. We saw how in Nehemiah 4 they attack Nehemiah’s person, purpose, and progress. And ultimately when that doesn’t work they actually try to personally destroy him by sending an army against him to kill him.
The question is how do you overcome people who attack you, seek to destroy your vision, and oppose you?
Well, what we learned from Nehemiah is to first pray. Rather than wasting energy arguing with your enemies, take your hurts, anger and emotions to God in prayer. Nehemiah goes to God in prayer, and then gets back to work on God’s vision. He doesn’t let his enemies suck up his time, energy and emotions.
Next he prepares for the future challenges. Nehemiah knows that each great story has conflict in it. He doesn’t expect God to save him from experiencing the conflict; he expects that God will get him through the conflict. Nehemiah knows that all those who chase after making a difference in the world are not exempt from challenge, but will encounter challenge. So Nehemiah takes his responsibility seriously and plans and prepares for the challenge believing God will use him to get him through it. Donald Miller writes: “Somehow we realize that stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master story-teller”. Nehemiah though embraces the fact that God is a master story-teller and begins to prepare for God to use him.
Lastly, Nehemiah trusts in God. Once he has learned that enemies are going to swoop down and kill him he says to the people, “Remember the Lord”. He is trying to remind the people that God is in it with them. He is trying to remind them to trust in the God who gave them the vision because he is the one who will ensure its completion.
So how do you get past the Sanballat’s and Tobiah’s in your life? Simple – pray, prepare, and trust in God. Pray to God for faith in the difficulty, prepare for ways to push through the challenge, and trust that God will get you there. That’s what he did with Nehemiah and he wants to do the same with us!
Adult Discussion Questions:
When have you had someone attack your person or dream? How did it feel? How did you respond? What is your personal vision you are chasing after? How can you prepare for some of the future challenges that will come? Why do you think “Remembering the Lord” is so important? Can you trust that God will get you through the difficult times? What helps you to trust in the difficult times?