Nehemiah, an Israelite living in exile, was a cup bearer to the king of Persia. One day he was informed, that Jerusalem was in a state of despair with its people poor and the city walls in ruins. Upon hearing this, Nehemiah became filled with sorrow and felt led to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls. God confirmed Nehemiah by giving him favor with the king of Persia to travel to Jerusalem. The king gave Nehemiah passages and supplies to help with the construction of the wall. (See Nehemiah 1:1-11)
When Nehemiah got to Jerusalem, he told the people how the gracious hand of God had been upon him, giving him favor with the king to build the wall.
Then the people of Israel replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” (See Nehemiah 2:10)
But, Nehemiah encountered great opposition from on all sides of the enemies of Judah for his plans to rebuild the wall. The Samaritans, Ammonites, Arabs and Philistines, they all came against Nehemiah!
Here is a sample of the opposition that Nehemiah had to endure before and during the rebuilding of the city walls of Jerusalem, in his own words:
“But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of my arrival, they were very displeased that someone had come to help the people of Israel.” Nehemiah 2:10 NLT
“But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” they asked. Nehemiah 2:19 NLT
“Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”
Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!” Nehemiah 4:1-3 NLT
“But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion.” Nehemiah 4:7-8 NLT
“Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono.
But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?”
Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply. The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand, and this is what it said:
“There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and Geshem tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’
“You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.” I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.”
They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work.” Nehemiah 6:1-9 NLT
“Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, “Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight.”
But I replied, “Should someone in my position run from danger? Should someone in my position enter the Temple to save his life? No, I won’t do it!” I realized that God had not spoken to him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me.” Nehemiah 6:10-13 NLT
Nehemiah and his people finished the wall in just 52 days after they had begun. When their enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of God! (See Nehemiah 6:15-16)
The moral of this awesome story is what the apostle Paul said: “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT