Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 4:1-6
The Book of Nehemiah tells the story of Nehemiah’s return to his homeland to rebuild the fallen walls of Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 4, he and his team faced criticism for their work. Their mockers ridiculed their feebleness and the futility of their task. They laughed at Nehemiah’s confidence to accomplish his big task at hand. They mocked the foolishness of their faith and the frailty of their work. They didn’t think Nehemiah’s work would last.
Ridicule is one of the hardest things we will face as Christians. We are feeble people by the world’s standards (measured by numbers, size, prestige and finances). The world doesn’t believe we can do what we have been commissioned and empowered to do by Jesus Christ. They laugh at what they call the foolishness of our faith.
When reacting to ridicule, we ought to remember what things Nehemiah did. He made practical considerations.
First, he considered the cause of the ridicule.Ridicule is a substitute for reason. If these mockers couldn’t reason Nehemiah out of this work for God, they would ridicule him, instead.
He also considered the character of his mockers. Adrian Rogers says, “We’re known not only by the friends that we make, we’re also known by the enemies that we make.”
He considered the company he was in. When we are scorned, we must remember: Jesus Christ was scorned. We are in good company.
He considered the compensation he would receive, because “when men will persecute you, and revile you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My name sake, rejoice and be exceeding glad.” (Matthew 5:11)
Then he considered the conclusion of the matter: God, Himself, will have the last laugh.
Nehemiah carried the ridicule to God in prayer; and then, he got to work. In spite of all of the threats of the enemy, of the ridicule and scorn, this team kept their work in mind. Rather than submitting to the criticism, they just started doing what God had called them to do.
What would happen if we had a mind to work and a heart to pray as Nehemiah and his team did?
Our reaction to ridicule is clearly outlined in Nehemiah 4: