When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble – burned as they are?”
The first time that Nehemiah is ridiculed by his enemies, he responds by telling them that the God of heaven will give his people success. (2:20)
In chapter 4, when Sanballat ridiculed the Jews, Nehemiah prayed. When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, and the Ammonites plotted to fight against Jerusalem, Nehemiah prayed and posted guards around the work. Prayer and watchfulness emphasize that faith and action go hand in hand to combat the enemy’s ridicule and plans of destruction. In I Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath demonstrates another godly man’s response to ridicule.
The giant hurled insults at David, and David sought and trusted his God with the response. Jesus Christ was insulted, mocked, and ridiculed by those who sought to kill Him, and yet He did not try to defend Himself. He prayed to His Father in heaven and kept His eyes on the task that was given Him.
So often we get caught up in an emotional response when we are insulted, and yet in God’s Word, there are countless examples of responding by first turning to God. The next time you are insulted or ridiculed, look to the Lord for counsel and pray for wisdom before you respond. Consider this Scripture the next time you find yourself in this position: If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. (Proverbs 25:21-22)
Sometimes when I seek to do Your will, I get trapped by ridicule and unbelief. At times I have found myself being my harshest critic. Help me to stand firm in Your Word and trust You to deliver me from ridicule. Fill me with grace to respond to insults by turning to You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen