Frowned Upon

"When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel." (Nehemiah 2:10)

A wet blanket

So Nehemiah is tasked with rebuilding Jerusalem's walls that the Jews might start life anew after their exile. And then these two men take notice and try their level best to hinder and stop the progress of God's plan. Even going so far as to rally their compatriots and countrymen "to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it." (4:8) What we see here is extreme jealousy played out on a nationwide scale. But wound down to your life, how do you deal with the detractors and naysayers? Walls aren't a bad thing. Sometimes, they're downright necessary.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37)

Ooh. There's an exclamation point there in the King James. You gotta know that four hundred years ago, exclamation hadn't yet been invented. So whether or not the original indeed had punctuation of this sort or not is neither here nor there. They're rare in the text which makes me look at it again. Jesus is expressing his shock at the hardness of heart of those whom He had come to help and to save. And while I don't really know about the inclusion of the exclamation in the original text, imagine Him overlooking the city—now restored to its glory—and wanting to keep the strains of thought that lead to exclusion and scorn and discouragement, out.

I think that anytime we keep the Lord from encouraging and strengthening us and think that we can do it for ourselves, we alienate Him—from us ("for God resisteth the proud" 1 Peter 5:5). This might sound obvious but think about how it will play out in the days following. If you have not received any encouragement from God (guilty), then you won't have any to give. People are not self-perpetuating dynamos full of all the ingredients needed to make life tick and move freely. I can only offer so much and if I don't plead those "times of refreshing...from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19), I will dry up. And I could bleed over into doing just the opposite of refresh. To detract and discourage and downplay and God knows what else. Don't put it past me. I'm sorry. Thank God He's always shining.

"In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain." (Proverbs 16:15)

"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us; Selah." (Proverbs 67:1)

If you notice someone has walls about them, they're probably there for good reason. Know this.