Sanballat heard that Nehemiah and the Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, and became furious. He started by mocking the work. “What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones form the dusty rubble even the burned ones?” And Tobia the Ammorite joined in, “Even what they are building – if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!”
If you decide, and start a good work, not everyone will like it. And it is good to be ready. Being informed of the enemy’s tactics is one of the prerequisites of winning a battle. It’s important to recognize the enemy, and react accordingly.
One favorite strategy of an enemy is to lower morale, discourage. This is often achieved by mockery, by putting down the abilities of the ones working, laughing at possibility of success, and belittling the project itself. Samballet moked the Jews; can they restore the stones from the dust and rubble? And burned at that? And even if they built it, could it last? A fox could knock their wall over, they taunted.
See, once the spirit of the workers is crushed; there will be no need for attack. People will limit themselves to what they think is possible.
If you find yourself working on something good, a ministry, a relationship with God; some walls in your community or life, expect discouragement. It might come from people, or simply from your thoughts. Recognize that there is an enemy behind the words of mockery and taunts.
Finally, do what Nehemiah and his people did- bring the discouraging words to God, and set your mind on the work.
Nehemiah first part of chapter four – Go read it for yourself!
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”