… it distressed them exceedingly that a man had come to inquire for and require the good and prosperity of the Israelites. Nehemiah 2:10b
If you are like me, the sentence in Nehemiah 2:10 is surprising. Why in the world would this man coming to fix a wall distress anyone? Not only were these men distressed, It says they were exceedingly so! Nehemiah had done everything he was supposed to; he had followed all of the strategic plans, and he had prayed, he had all of the favor in the world, but he still came across opposition. These men gathered together to destroy his plans. They were in positions of authority in other nearby realms, yet they were intensely unhappy with what Nehemiah had chosen to do with the walls. The first thing that we should understand is that even if what we are doing is within God’s will, the enemy will send opposition.
The first thing that the enemies told Nehemiah was that he had no authority to do what he was doing. When we make the choice to stand for our marriages, the first attack the enemy comes at us with is in our minds. He whispers that we have no authority over him, over our spouse, or over the situation. You are probably familiar with the helpless feeling that this causes. When we feel powerless, it is because we feel like we lack the authority to change it. That’s a lie from the enemy, and the first line of attack, as you can see here.
In Chapter 2, verse 19, we see that not only does the enemy question Nehemiah’s authority, but they also question his sanity. They begin to mock and ridicule him. In one commentary, the translation of verse 19 was:
“They laughed to scorn, and despised us as very silly people, they that undertook what they could never have performed.”
You see, the enemy doesn’t mince words; he goes straight to your thoughts because if you internalize these lies, then you end up feeling hopeless and helpless, and he wins. Nehemiah, on the other hand, did not let these thoughts get stuck in his mind. He knew that he was on a mission of the heart, and that God had blessed the whole endeavor, and he chose to ignore the lies.
I answered them, The God of heaven will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or memorial in Jerusalem. Nehemiah 2:20
In other words, ‘Hey guys, you are actually the ones without authority in this matter!’ This showed the absolute trust that Nehemiah had in God, despite the opposition. He had this peace and trust because he knew that God had shown him this was right.
There will be opposition along our journey of restoration, but may we be like Nehemiah, trusting in God despite what stands before us, blocking our path. It is time to stand against the traps the enemy has placed in our own minds. We DO have the authority, given to us through Christ, over our marriage. We can and will stand tall even when we hear the whispers of doubt and helplessness that the enemy sends our way. We are not crazy or foolish for standing, no; we are doing God’s work.
Have you allowed the enemy to tell you that you don’t have authority in this situation? If so, take it back!
Have you allowed thoughts of how “foolish” you are to sneak in? Remember what it is that you are standing for.