Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm.
- Nehemiah 6:2
The enemies of Nehemiah’s great work had names and voices and schemes. The same can’t always be said in our lives.
Sanballat and Geshem tried to thwart and intimidate Nehemiah earlier in the narrative. When Nehemiah first started rebuilding the wall, these men mocked and made fun of him and spread rumors that he was leading a revolt against the king (Neh. 2:19). If those rumors made their way back to Persia, the king would end the project … and end Nehemiah!
When the wall was halfway built, Nehemiah’s opponents started to make physical threats of violence against the workers, forcing them to do their construction work while carrying swords. This opposition was emotional, furious, and intense.
When you embark on great work in your own life, you probably won’t have people trying to get you killed. But it may feel like it.
You may have the experience of people talking behind your back. You may suffer the venomous verbal stabs of the doubters, the haters, and the naysayers. People may whisper in your ear words that make you lose hope and motivation.
Or your opponents may be impersonal, nameless, faceless. Exhaustion. Distraction. Busyness. Perhaps the chief opponents to your great work in life are the myriad smaller works that take up all your time and leave you with little left to give to what’s most important to you and to God.
What is it that keeps getting in the way of you focusing on what’s most important to you? Who or what are your opponents?