Categories: Anger, Bible, Bravery, Christian, Daily Living, Expository Study, Hell, Nehemiah, New Testament, Obedience, Old Testament, Satan

It never fails that when people determine to do what the Lord says, they will meet with criticism and ridicule. Friend, has anyone ever criticized you for doing the Lord’s will? Of course, it can get worse than mere critique. Family and friends have rejected some for being Christians. I know people whose parents have disowned them and deny they are even their children! Yes, some people are hated to this degree for merely trying to do what God has said.

I wish I could say this is a new phenomenon, but it is not. When the Jews determined to rebuild the walls and began to make progress, Sanballat was there to mock them (Neh. 4:1)! He was greatly angered that they were even trying this! Remember, this was the same man who was grieved that Nehemiah wanted to come and help the people in the first place (Neh. 2:10). He had ridiculed the people already and falsely charged Nehemiah and the leaders with rebellion (2:19-20). Now, the people’s success fostered a whole new level of hate in him (Neh. 4:2)!

Tobiah made fun of the people and their work. He said it was such a disgrace that a fox could come up and knock the stones down (Neh. 4:3)! When these men heard that the people were content to do God’s will, and ignored the ridicule, they increased the intensity of the threats and plotted to physically fight the people (Neh. 4:7-8). Thankfully, the people were resolved and ready to defend their work if needed (Neh. 4:16-23).

Yes, these people faced their share of “haters,” as will we. Are you ready to stand for the Lord in spite of what others might say? Will you continue to stand when the hatred and harsh words and actions become more intense? I am thankful to God that these people had Nehemiah to encourage them during this hard time (Neh. 4:14-15). Who is your encourager to continue in the fight? Who are you encouraging? Others need encouragement as well, you know!

Facing opposition is something that is promised (II Tim. 3:12). It is not a matter of “if” but “when.” Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me” (Jn. 15:18-21).

When we strive to act as the Lord, why would we be surprised that the world treats us as they once treated the Lord? Rather than being caught up in hate, or trying to exact revenge somehow, let us take the words of Christ to heart and remember that there is something better awaiting the child of God (I Cor. 15:58; Rom. 8:18; II Cor. 4:17)!

Don’t let the “haters” discourage you. Pray for their souls, and pray for their change of heart (Matt. 5:44-48). The saddest part of all is the fact that these people are so wrapped up in hate that they do not see that their souls are in jeopardy daily. Remember, though, that the suffering in Hell for them will be far worse than the suffering I endure at their hands. May I love them more than they hate me. May I be active in leading someone to Christ who used to hate but now has the opportunity to see Heaven because He loves the Lord and loves His children (I Jn. 5:2-4).

- Jarrod M. Jacobs