“What they are building – if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!” – Nehemiah 4: 3
Nehemiah was chosen by God to rebuild Jerusalem. He had favour and permission from the king – Artaxerxes. He had all the resources he needed. But still he had to face the ridicule of the leaders of the surrounding areas. Sanballat said “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble – burned as they are?” (4: 2). Tobiah said that even a fox would climb and break down their walls (4: 3).
In the beginning of the book of Nehemiah we could see the anguish he experiences because of the pathetic condition of Jerusalem. He leaves the comfortable life of the palace to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. With great pain and effort he mobilizes the remnant of Israelites and starts the tedious work of rebuilding the walls. The reward for all the sacrifice and trouble he had gone through is “RIDICULE”.
Ridicule is the greatest discouragement one could face in life and in ministry. The comments we hear from others belittle our work. It would either make us angry or dishearten. They melt our hearts. We lose strength to move further. It becomes more difficult when we put our heart and soul into a project and be ridiculed in return.
This is the same situation Nehemiah was in.
But Nehemiah responded to it in a different way. He prayed saying, “Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads” (4: 4). In return God gave the builders strength to work with all their heart (4: 5). They did not respond to the ridicule with words but their completion of the project was a fitting reply for the enemy.
In our lives also we often face ridicule. Those who hate us pass unwanted comments which discourage us. But if we turn our eyes to God and with prayer fulfil the work he has called us to do, we will bring glory to God and give fitting reply to those who have belittled our calling.