Nehemiah 4:1-3 “Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews. And he spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stone from the dusty rubble even the burned one?” Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said “Even what they are building – if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down.”
Nehemiah was a servant of King Artaxeixes. He was a Jew exiled in Babylon. God gives him favour with the King. He was promoted to be the cupbearer of the king. His responsibility was to ensure and certify that the wine that the king drunk was not poisoned. That was a very influential position.
Once he heard that, the wall of Jerusalem was falling apart and had not been attended, he asked permission from the king to go back to Jerusalem with some Jews to attend to the situation. The permission was granted. When they started rebuilding the wall they faced criticism from the Sanballat who was the governor of Samaria. This governor imagined that the arrival of Nehemiah with Jews builders from Babylon would be a threat to Samaria and Judah.
Listen to Sanballat’s mocking words.
“What are those feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifice? Can they finish in one day? Can they revive the stone from the ruble even the burned ones? Even what they are building if a fox should jump on it he would break their stone and wall down?”
Nehemiah and his team could not be discouraged by the mockery. No amount of criticism or mockery can make you feel average without you accepting it. When we do our work with commitment, dedication and passion it will attract attention and criticism. Envy, jealous, ingratitude and criticism are going to come as part of the price to pay when we reap past mediocrity. When your performance in average, normal and mediocre, it does not bother the devil or anybody.
As we serve the Lord in KCK let us not be bothered by ingratitude and the noisy negatives. When Jesus healed the ten leapers its only one of them who returned to thank him. The surest way to avoid criticism is to do nothing and be nothing. When we move with God and get things done for him that will attract criticism. Even with the fierce mockery from the Sanballat Nehemiah did not lose focus. He kept on building and in 52 days the wall was rebuilt.
Here is what the bible says about criticism and any form of verbal attack.
“The truthful lips shall be the established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment “(Prov.12:19 NKJV).
Do not judge people by what their critic say about them. Our calling is to respond to God not to the critics. Someone said that “the critics know the way but they cannot drive a car.” They are very good at giving directions of what ought be done, but given a chance they cannot do it themselves. In most cases the critic are probably jealous or uninformed and what they say has no impact on the truth at all. Let’s not pay attention to negative criticism, but instead “Trust in the Lord and do good” (Psalms 37:3 NKJV) Our labor in the Lord is not in Vain. Our gracious Lord will reward us.