“Now it happened, when Saballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.” Nehemiah 4:7-9
Nehemiah had to deal with the same type of folks that we deal with today: distractors who torment and do everything within their power to interfere with work. We often call them, “arm-chair quarterbacks,” but they’re much more than that. For example, Saballat first tried to stop the work by mocking and ridiculing the Jews. When that didn’t work, he changed his tactics to fear, entrapment, and political maneuvering. The contrast between Nehemiah and Sanballat were worlds apart. Nehemiah’s leadership and character dealt with every assault of Sanballat and in spite of it his godly vision was completed.
It’s easy to sit on the sideline and complain or offer suggestion, but until you are in the lead you don’t have a clue. Our American Political landscape is filled with those who know better than the one called to occupy the Whitehouse. Until they sit in the chair, they ought to guard their opinions.
Several lessons can be learned from studying Sanballat’s assaults, threats, and schemes
- Expect distractors
- Don’t give them the time of day (easier said than done!)
- Trust God to protect you and your reputation.
- Keep your hands to the plow and don’t look back.
- And, keep your weapon in one hand and your tool in another.