The Art of Perseverance: Nehemiah 4:1-4 (What To Do When Ridiculed)

Ever been put down? Insulted? Ridiculed?

Ever been shamed for trying to do something you believed in? Something you were convinced God led you to do?

“How does this make you feel?” asks the counselor. That answer can be as numerous and varied as there are readers of this blog post.

But what do you do? How do you normally respond?

Does your response make things better? Does it work out for your best and the best of the one hurling the insults?

What Makes Persevering So Darn Hard?

Persevering through difficulty is tough in itself. But when someone (or more than one) makes comments that discourage you from accomplishing a task or enduring a painful situation, it gets all the more difficult.

Consider Nehemiah.

He got the king to see his point-of-view. He got all the materials he needed. And he inspired the people to get to work.

Then came the discouraging insults: (4:1-3)

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?”

Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

Notice it wasn’t just a couple of dweebs casting verbal garbage. The whole Samaritan army was there.

Talk about feeling a bit intimidated.

Been there. Done that. You, too?


I’ll tell you what I really desire to do when this happens: retaliate, throw back insults.

Heck, maybe a baseball bat to the…

…OK. Nevermind that, but here’s what Nehemiah did. See verse 4:

Hear us, our God, for we are despised.

I know. That’s not the whole verse. But it’s this first part that jumped out at me.

Nehemiah looked at God.

That’s right. That’s what we must do, too. Seems simple, right?

It works.

It’s like God is saying, “Just keep looking at Me. It’s none of your business what they say. That’s My business to handle. You just keep looking at Me.” Click to tweet.

What About You?

To persevere, we gotta keep our eyes on Jesus. Especially when the discouraging arrows come flying our way.

After all, He is the Author and Finisher of our faith!


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