Nehemiah 4-6 The Many Forms of Opposition


But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews.


 Furious and Indignant –  speak of a boiling over type of ANGER & very indignant = RAGE


A)That is how the Devil reacts when you decide you want to rebuild – broken down areas of your life


B)He loves seeing things in Chaos and ruins!


C)The minute that you – decide that you want to make a difference – opposition is something you can count on.


D)There are many ways that the Devil tries to tempt and pull down


E)But what we see here in Nehemiah 4-6

1)IS very consistent with how He seeks to come against those who want to be used by God – those who want to make a difference!


Three areas: Discouragement / Division / Distraction

     All in 52 day time frame – less than 2 months

Ch.4 Discouragement /

Ch. 5 Division /

Ch.6 Distraction


E)Look at the tactics as well as how Nehemiah dealt with them to gain insight into what to do when the enemies comes against us


1st Discouragement: 


But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish — stones that are burned?"


3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, "Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall."



There are two types of Discouragement that we see in this Chapter

A)The first comes in the form of Mocking – These pp are weak – they are incapable of pulling this off 


B)And it won’t be strong enough ! Fox will knock it over!   { Casting doubt


C)Listen the enemy loves to get us focused on our weaknesses

1)You will never pull this off – not in you

D)Never be the husband you are supposed to be – Never be the kind of man God can use! – Never pull it off { Why even try – that is his goal


How did Nehemiah respond? – He prays

4 Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity! 5 Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders.


Here is what Nehemiah is saying in His prayer: My enemies and Critics are your problem God!

A)We have been called by you to a do a work – so Lord these guys are your problem.


B) Lord you hear what they are saying – Deal with it!

1)This is brilliant -  Nehemiah is not even going to let himself or the pp get caught up in this


2)Nehemiah refused to even consider this: PP waste so much time playing what if game


C)Nehemiah’s  answer is a recognition that the success and the strength of the wall was not up to them but up to God


Result: 6 So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.        Half way done


RD V. 7-9   { Key Watch and Pray

Internal discouragement  RD V.10-13

A)Notice v.10 says the strength of the workers was failing  - Fatigue is setting in


B)Note the time frame of this – ½ way mark { Hiking / Swimming / Ministry / ½ way marks are tough

1)The newness wears off. – So many things are exciting at first


C)Mission trips – 12 Hr plane ride – 1st six hrs exciting – this is going to be great – last six hrs get me off this plane


D)21 day trip – First 10 excited – last 11 dying I miss Denise – I miss little Aaron


Reason for the Discouragement:

Loss of Focus: Two much Rubbish –

Problem – instead of seeing all that has been done – only see what needs to be done


And the threat of Violence: Rumors they are going to attack and kills us!


Answer: RD V. 13-23


Nehemiah’s does 4 things here that help the pp make it thru!

#1 Remember where their strength lies v.14 – Remember the Lord great and awesome


Always important to see the bigness of the task in light of the greatness of our God.


#2 He reminds them of what they are fighting for. – Positioned them by their families and homes -  

A)Get your eyes off of what is difficult and on to what is precious


B)This needs to be done for my families well being!


C))What has God entrusted to you – what is precious in your eyes – flock / family / the lost


#3 He made sure the people were adequately equipped  – Sword and a Trowel!

A)Right tools for their success


B)What is needed for a person a ministry to be successful


#4 He creates a rallying point! -  Underscores the need to rally together  Fellowship


Ch. 5 Problem: Division       RD V. 1-5

In the midst of a “great work” for a “great God”  came  a “great cry”




A) Economically times were hard – the people were dealing with famine

B) The city had not been tilled and cultivated to meet all the demands of the hundreds of people who had suddenly flooded in to build the wall.

1) The current crop could not meet the demands – shortage of food supplies.


C) Not only that but the people were also dealing with heavy taxation that was coming down from the King – the Persians were ruling at this time

1) And all the regions were taxed


D) So in order to get food and to pay their taxes – the people were borrowing against their farms and their homes


Now one of the things that you need to understand is that there weren’t banks at this time –

A) So they were borrowing from the wealthy Jews – the rulers & the nobles


B) But there were two problems associated with what was happening

1) The first is that the rulers and the nobles were charging interest


C) Now God had clearly outlined rules for lending & borrowing in his word- they were allowed to lend – but they were not to charge interest

 Deut 23:19-20


Lev 25:35-38 'If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.36 Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.37 You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit.


Purpose was to help not Profit


D) So the first problem was that the rulers and nobles were Charging interest – which went against God’s word


The second problem was that when someone couldn’t pay back their loan the lenders were taking their homes their land & in some cases their children for slaves

A) This practice was also forbidden by the Lord –

        Lev 25:39-41


B)So these rulers and nobles were clearly acting in a way that was contrary to God’s word in their EXPLOITATION OF their brethren


C)There is some big time strife and division happening here.

1) Again that is always a major tactic of the enemy – If he can’t discourage he will seek to Divide.



C)Granted what was happening here was wrong - 

1)Not right Biblically -  Strife and Division usually isn’t 


Whenever there is strife and division happening in a ministry, in a family, in a friendship – it almost always involves the rationalizing of poor behavior and the ignoring of the word of God


A)Be it in the form of gossip and back biting – be it in the form of holding grudges – You can’t do that without ignoring scripture


B)The way Nehemiah handles this is amazing!


1st consider his response :V.6  And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words.

A)  The first mark of a good leader: He becomes angry at injustice


B)It was good that He was bothered!


C) 2nd thing he does is even better though  he consulted before he confronted   V7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers,


C) Nehemiah was a man passionate enough to get angry; but wise enough to not act until he had considered the matter carefully.

1) I admit that I have faltered in this area more times than I care to admit

D) But I am learning – to Slow down think things through.

1)Respond in the Spirit instead of reacting in the flesh


Now after considering the matter – Nehemiah under control – took action      RD V.7- 10


Nehemiah starts by rebuking these guys – He calls them on the carpet and points out where they were wrong.

A) The word rebuke means to reprimand sharply



He reminds them that these were their brothers – Redeemed by God  He uses the term brother or brethren 4 times in these verses

A) Now this is a good thing for us in the body of Christ to remember – we are  FAMILY


B) Linked by Blood – the blood of Jesus Christ - 

1)More unified – the stronger – The father and the sticks  1 stick break – 2… 3 …. 4 couldn’t


C) Question: Were they going to be guilty of putting their brothers whom God had redeemed back under bondage? –


D)That same thing can happen in the Church when we are guilty of laying trips on pp that God – didn’t put on them.


Nehemiah wants them to see that their sin against their brothers is really sin against God – Exhorts them to walk in the fear of God


Paul’s pt  concerning Liberty – cause a brother to stumble – I am sinning against Christ – because – that person is a part of the body of Christ


Therefore – I will gladly forfeit my liberty in order to not stumble my brother. 


#2 He corrects them: V.11 11 Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them."


Doesn’t do any good to point out problems if you don’t offer any solutions


So Nehemiah doesn’t just rebuke but he has a answer and a plan for the problem : The response V.12

So they said, "We will restore it, and will require nothing from them; we will do as you say."


Nehemiah doesn’t stop there V.12b

Then I called the priests, and required an oath from them that they would do according to this promise.

A) As I picture this scene in my mind , I see Nehemiah pointing to the money-lenders: “You make a promise to these workers.”


B) Then he looks at the priests: “You remember their promise before God.”

1) This was a way of saying that the promise was not just between the bankers and the builders but between them and the Lord.


C)This is like marriage vows!

1)Break these you are not just dishonoring your spouse but more importantly God!


2) He was asking the Priest to hold them accountable – { Accountability


C) Nehemiah concludes this meeting with a very serious visual illustration

V 13 Then I shook out the fold of my garment and said, "So may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise. Even thus may he be shaken out and emptied."


The Chapter ends with Nehemiah setting a great example by taking all that he had and sharing it with those in need on a daily basis

             RD V. 14-19 later on your own


CH.6 Distraction: 

I THINK the biggest reason why Projects remained unfinished is DISTRATCTION

1)  We get distracted in the work – we get pulled away AND we never get back


B) As we come to Chapter 6 – this is the issue facing Nehemiah – Distraction  RD V.1-4


So we see here that the enemy was trying to pull Nehemiah away from the work –

A)They are persistent – 4 times they ask –  { the enemy doesn’t give up easy


B)Nehemiah answers the same way all 4 times

1)I can’t leave I am doing a great work


C)This is the way to deal with being distracted –

You have to believe that what God is calling you to right now – It is a great work


D)Are you presently doing  what God has called you to do!


Mom! – That is a great work / grand kids ….


Ambassador at your work! – That is a great work


Teach a home group  Great work


There is nothing greater than doing what God has called you to RIGHT NOW


Problem w/ so many, always thinking something else

There was  a missionary in China whose abilities were so outstanding that one of the American companies tried to hire him.

They offered him an attractive job with a salary to match, but he turned it down.


He told them that God had sent him to China as a missionary.


He thought that would end the matter, but instead they came back with a better offer and an increase in salary.

He turned that down too, but again they came back, doubling the financial package.

Finally he said to them, “It’s not your salary that’s too little. It’s the job that’s too small!”

Where-ever God has you right now is YOUR GREAT WORK- don’t be pulled away!


Perspective means a lot

3 Guys Laying Bricks same job site – Little Boy asked first guy what are you doing? -
A) What does it look like – Laying bricks

      2nd Guy – I am building a building


3rd Guy:  I am building a Cathedral where people will come to worship the living God


B) Which Guy do you think was the most excited about what he was doing

1) And Motivated to finish!

C) How do you see the Ministry you are involved in?  Great work –

1) Laying bricks – building a wall / Building or a Cathedral


D) Listen if it is God’s work – it is a Great work !


When that doesn’t work the enemy seeks to Distract Nehemiah with lies rumors and intimidation

RD V.5-9


Here is what Happens here – A messenger shows up to the Job site with an OPEN LETTER

A) That means that it was to be read in the hearing of everybody –


B) Two key phrases in v.6 It is reported among the nations……. therefore, according to these rumors


C) This was a pure insinuation: The rumor being reported? Nehemiah wants to be King

1) That is what he is doing and why he is so eager to get these walls built


D) What is the Big deal about that ? Well if that got back to King Artx – and he believed it

1) It would cost Nehemiah his head and the People of Israel would be squashed again




E) Now this is another Distraction of the enemy –

1)  the enemy wants to get Nehemiah side tracked by trying to defend himself against rumors


F)Nehemiah refuses to even give it the time of Day!

Let God be his defense


Nehemiah says – You are lying – that is not my heart – I trust the people know that

A) He prayed - Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.


B) Listen that is all you can do – let God be your defense – time will tell!


Distraction #3 Intimidation v.10

10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you."


So Shemiah who was of the priestly line and probably a confidant of Nehemiah – takes a turn

A) Trying to set Nehemiah up – run to the temple

Notice Nehemiah’s response


11 And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!"

B) Nehemiah rejected Shemaiah’s proposal because it was contrary to the Law of Moses.

1) It was forbidden for a layman to go beyond the altar of burnt offering at the temple.


(Num. 18:7 “The outsider who comes near shall be put to death”, NKJV).


C) (2 Chron. 26:16–21). When King Uzziah tried to invade the holy precincts, God smote him with leprosy


Now it was at this point – that Nehemiah realized that something was wrong – Something wasn’t right – Shemiah is contradicting God’s word


12 Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.


Anytime someone has a word for you that doesn’t line up with scripture – Reject it

A) God is not going to give a word that is going to contradict the written word


B) Word above his name !


13 For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me.


14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.




Nehemiah rejected it – was not distracted because he clung to the word – would not compromise


Neh 6:15-19 

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.


16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.


Awesome thing to have happen