“It is reported…that you.” Neh 6:6 NKJV
To prevent Nehemiah from rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, his enemies spread rumors about him. “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king” (v. 6 NKJV). Now, you can’t control what people think, or keep them from saying it, but you can determine your response. Nehemiah did: “I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?’ But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner” (vv. 3-4 NKJV). This story teaches you three important principles: (1) Refuse to give more attention to a critic than you would to a friend. To Nehemiah, the people who mattered were those who were for him rather than those against him. So instead of trying to change minds, he changed gears and moved forward. (2) Realize that with opportunity comes opposition. Paul wrote, “There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me” (1Co 16:9 NLT). Criticism is a sign of respect; if you weren’t succeeding, they wouldn’t even notice you. (3) Remember that it’s the big battles that produce the big victories. Satan won’t send you a congratulatory telegram because you have decided to do God’s will; he will fight you every step of the way. But “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1Jn 4:4). Today God is on your side, so your victory is assured.