Jealous anger . . .

Vol.5, No. 31 – August 16, 2020

Effectively handling the Problems Life BringsNehemiah 4:1-9

Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. –Nehemiah 4:1

Life presents opportunities of citing “Murphy’s Law” (If there is a chance of something going wrong, you can be sure it will.), I wonder if Nehemiah had a copy of the list. My dad uses to say, about life, Things go along that way for a while; then they change, they get worse!

Sandballat, from the nearby village of Beth-Horon, in the province of Samaria, is jealous of Nehemiah. Anger and being enraged is typical of jealousy. His arrows of scorn and ridicule intended to tear down those Jews attempting to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice; will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that? (4:2) Totally inadequate materials and manpower—these unskilled workers are naively taking on an impossible task!

Look at his arsenal, containing five poisonous arrows of mockery and sarcasm:

  1. What are these feeble Jews doing? A cheap shot against their character, intending to lower their self-esteem, weaken their resolve, and destroy their morale.
  2. Will they restore it themselves? An attempt to go after their motives. Surely, they have ulterior intentions.
  3. Will they sacrifice? Their enthusiasm is impugned. They will tire out before they complete it.
  4. Will they finish in a day? This is a long-term project, but they act as if it would be completed before nightfall.
  5. Will they revive stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned? Sneering at the work accomplished.

To add insult, along comes his buddy, Tobiah (there is always one is there not?). Tobiah, with a cannonball loaded with caustic overtones: Even if a fox goes light footed up on the walls, the structure will come tumbling down!

Life Application

A test of your character is what it takes to stop you. –a university president to his collegiate body.

Even though our enemy uses arrows and other weapons, and everything seemingly was going amiss, Nehemiah has a positive reaction. He prays, and the people got with it. They built the wall because the people had a mind to work. They put on the armor of God.

  1. No whining, feeling sorry for themselves
  2. No pious platitudes
  3. No retreat to a pity party
  4. No arguing
  5. No getting side-tracked

After prayer, they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. The best defense for a Christian is a hard-working advance when faced with opposition. Faith and hard work go together. Have you ever wondered why Christians go on “Retreats”? I would think that Christians should not think about going on “Retreats,” but going on “Advances.”

How appropriate is the application to apply to the church? To the people of our community? To our nation? To our political parties?

In our nation, one of the largest problems of those who cast disparagement upon our nation’s leader is bound up in jealous anger. It ought not to be. There is a price to pay for this sin of the people.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me! –Philippians 4:13

Handling effectively the problems and opportunities, that life brings!

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