Nehemiah 2 - Nehemiah's Commission
A. Nehemiah the cupbearer
1. (1-2) He stands before the king
a. The last verse of chapter 1 tells us Nehemiah was the king's cupbearer - a significant position in any ancient royal court. The cupbearer was a personal body guard to the king, being the one who tasted wine and food before the king did - making sure no one was trying to poison the king
i. The king, therefore, had to have a tremendous amount of trust in his cupbearer, who had to be a man of faithful and impressive character. If the cupbearer could be turned against the king, assassination would be easy
ii. The cupbearer also was a servant to the king; he was responsible for choosing most of the foods and wines the king and the court would enjoy
iii. The cupbearer was also a trusted advisor to the king; since he was constantly in the king's presence, and greatly trusted, and a man of character, it was natural the cupbearer would often be asked his opinion on different matters coming before the king
b. As Nehemiah gives wine to the king, care is given to note the specific day the events in chapter two begin
i. Why was it so important to God to note the date these things happened? To show that Nehemiah prayed and waited for four months with the kind of heart described previously in chapter one. During those four month, Nehemiah's prayer was likely "Lord, either take this burden from my heart or show me how to be the man to bear this burden."
ii. The date is also important, because it establishes the date given to restore Jerusalem and its walls. Daniel 9:25 says that exactly 173,880 days from this day - which was March 14, 445 BC - Messiah the prince would be presented to Israel. Sir Robert Anderson, the eminent British astronomer and mathematician, makes a strong case that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy exactly, to the day, entering Jerusalem on April 6, 32 AD
c. On this particular day, Nehemiah notes I had never been sad in his presence before - and then, when the king takes notice, Nehemiah became dreadfully afraid. Why?
i. As was true in the courts of many ancient kings, it was forbidden to be sad in the presence of the king. The thought was that the king was such a wonderful person that merely being in his presence was supposed to make you forget all your problems. When Nehemiah looked sad, it could have been taken as a grave insult to the king
ii. When the king said This is nothing but sorrow of heart, Nehemiah knew the king had noticed, and was taking it seriously - would the next words from the king be "off with his head!"?
iii. Nehemiah was also afraid because he knew what he was going to ask of the king, and how important it was - there was a lot riding on what was going to happen in response to this question!
d. Nehemiah understood it was not his place to change the king's heart. He prayed and left it up to the Lord, instead of dropping hints and trying to manipulate the situation. Then one day, four months later, the king's heart was different. Are we making the mistake of trying to change someone else's heart, instead of leaving it up to the Lord to do it?
2. (3) Nehemiah's response
a. Nehemiah's reaction was to first say a phrase he must have said many time before: May the king live forever! This must have almost been the motto among professional cupbearers; since they tasted the wine and food before the king did, they naturally wished the king a good long life!
b. Nehemiah then goes on to explain why he is sad - his city, the place of the graves of his ancestors, lies in waste, and its gates are burned with fire
i. No one had to tell the king this was a disgraceful state of affairs; he would immediate sympathize with Nehemiah's concern for the dignity, safety, and well-being of his people
ii. We see also Nehemiah's great tact and wisdom; he tells of his concern without specifically mentioning the name of the city. The king would naturally have a bad association with the name "Jerusalem," knowing from history it was a city rebellious against the Persians and resistant to their rule. Nehemiah gets his sympathy before he reveals the city!
c. Nehemiah's answer was not only wise, it was honest. How often are we visibly depressed or troubled, and when someone asks us about it, we simply reply "Nothing's wrong!" or "Oh, I'm O.K."
i. Many people are troubled by this dilemma; no one wants to be a whiner, boring others with our problems when the other person may only be asking out of common courtesy; on the other hand, we know the tremendous value there can be in sharing our concerns with someone else who can pray with us and perhaps share some wisdom from the Bible
ii. What's the answer? The best way to do it is to keep a few things in mind: first, why wait for someone to ask? Why not go up to someone you know you can trust and who cares for you? Second, if you really don't know a person well enough to feel confident sharing your personal life, why not just ask them to pray for you in general? They don't need to know all the details to pray, because God knows all the details. Third, when, someone asks you if you are troubled, be open to the idea that this person is special gift to you at this time
iii. However, avoid two traps: one, "shopping" for advice - asking many people, telling all of them your problems, until you get the advice you want! Second, be especially careful of talking to others in a way that puts the problem on other people - people who aren't there to give their side of the story! Nehemiah didn't say to the king, "I'm sad because those incompetents in Jerusalem have had 100 years to build the walls and they haven't! What a bunch of hardened, uncaring, worthless jerks!" He described the problem without putting anyone else to blame. When we fail to do this, there's a word for it: gossip
iv. What about when you are the person asking others if they want prayer or others come to for help? It's helpful to guard yourself against the temptation to know every detail of the problem. Of course it's interesting to hear the details of others problems, but do you really need to know all the fine points? Is your prayer going to be worthless if you don't know it all? Are you less able to lead them to Jesus for His loving care? Some things need to be talked out more than others, but sometimes we want the other person to talk it out more for us than for them
3. (4-8) Nehemiah's request
a. Right away, Nehemiah knew God had given him favor with the king. It wasn't "off with his head!" but "what can I do to help?" Nehemiah knew that four months of prayer had been answered!
b. Knowing his prayer had been answered, what does Nehemiah do? He prays again - not for an extended prayer (he could have said, "Well king, let me pray about it for a few days and then I'll get back to you"), but for an immediate, silent, "help me Lord!" prayer. Nehemiah knew this was an incredible opportunity, and he did not want to blow the chance
i. It is wonderful to labor long in prayer; but prayer does not have to be long to be effective - especially when the situation will not allow a long prayer
c. Nehemiah again shows great wisdom as he respectfully asks for a leave of absence - and to be sent (you send me) by the king. He is asking the king to share his concern for Jerusalem, and to become a partner in getting the city and its people back where they should be
i. Nehemiah's vision is also revealed: that I may rebuild it. That's a tall order! That's a big goal! Nehemiah isn't going on a mere fact-finding expedition, or to tell the leaders of Jerusalem what a bad job they were doing. He goes to get the work done, trusting in God all the way!
ii. Again, Nehemiah shows wisdom by referring to Jerusalem without specifically mentioning the city (send me to Judah, to the city of my father's tombs). Although, we can also say that Nehemiah is not being deceptive. Though Jerusalem might have historically been a rebellious city to Persia, it isn't any longer - and will not be
d. Nehemiah's sympathetic heart, months of prayer, moment of prayer, great faith, big vision, and wise response were all answered - it pleased the king to send me! The king was enthusiastic about supporting Nehemiah in this venture
e. As a capable leader, Nehemiah clearly had a plan. Those four months in prayer had not only been spent talking to God, but listening to Him also, and working out a Spirit-led plan for what to do when God opened the door
i. Nehemiah knew how long he would need to be gone (I set him a time); he knew he would need letters of safe passage from the king (let letters be given to me); he knew what kind of materials would be needed (timber); he knew what work needed to be done (the gates of the citadel . . . the city wall . . . the house I will occupy). All this without ever having laid eyes on Jerusalem before! Nehemiah knew the needs by carefully and patiently seeking God
ii. Nehemiah had a plan, and God always works through a plan. The Lord our God is a planning God: The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. (Psalm 33:11). From the beginning of the plan of salvation in eternity past, God has a plan and is working it out
iii. Sometimes it may seem that God blesses a lack of planning, and sometimes it seems God does a blessed work completely different from what we have planned. But in every case, God works through planning - if not ours, then His. But as a general principle, God wants to train us up into the work of being planners, just as He is a planner
iv. The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5) Faith is no substitute for planning. We aren't more spiritual for failing to plan and for shooting from the hip. There may be sometimes when we simply can't plan, but we should never reject planning
f. Nehemiah was also a bold man, not afraid to ask others to help when he knew they had the resources to help. Once the king shows a willingness to be a part of Nehemiah's goal (it pleased the king to send me), Nehemiah went right on to ask for an official seal of approval on the project (letters . . . for the governors) and for the king to finance the project (that he must give me timber)
i. Nehemiah didn't ask because he wanted to take advantage of the king; he was showing honor and respect to the king by inviting him to participate in a worthy work. He knew the king was able to provide these things; he sensed the king's heart was willing, and so he shows the king how he can do what his willing heart wants to do!
g. And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me. Though this was a pagan king, Nehemiah still understood that God could work through him in a mighty way. God can provide for our needs in totally unexpected or unlikely ways!
B. Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem
1. (9-10) Arrival and opposition
a. Then I went: another example of Nehemiah's godly leadership; he actually went - traveled the eight hundred miles from Persia to Jerusalem to do the work of rebuilding the walls and the people
i. Many have a heart touched like Nehemiah's; they may also have the heart for prayer, the wisdom, the vision, the plan and the faith of a Nehemiah - but they stop short of actually going out and doing what needs to be done for the goal to become a reality
ii. Sometimes we substitute talking about something for actually doing it; it is one think to stand around with other believers and talk about doing some evangelism; praying about it, planning it, talking about it - it is another thing to actually go out and do it! God is in the doing of it!
iii. Our spiritual enemies don't mind as long as all we do is plan and pray and talk; but when God's people start doing something, they take notice
b. Beyond the River means "beyond the Euphrates River," an important landmark separating one region from another. Once you crossed the river, you were on the road to the region of Judea and the city of Jerusalem; Nehemiah goes to speak to the governors of this region, those governors who ruled under the Persians
c. Nehemiah comes prepared - letters to show he was truly sent by the king, and soldiers and horsemen with him, as well as substantial supplies of lumber from the king's forest. Truly, the king of Persia had responded to Nehemiah's invitation to become a partner in the work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem
d. At the governor's station, Nehemiah meets two men - Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite - enemies of Jerusalem and anyone who cared for the welfare of the city. They were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel
i. These two cared nothing as long as Jerusalem was weak and vulnerable; even though the temple was there, and worship conducted, that was fine - as long as the people of God were not strong, secure, and free from stress
ii. Notice when this opposition came - not at the heart stage, not at the vision stage, not at the prayer stage, not at the planning stage, but when progress came in doing something
iii. Some people fear ever stepping out for the Lord, because they know opposition will come. They somehow think their life will be better or easier if they stay in their low, mediocre state before God. What deception! A better life from holding back for Jesus Christ? Tough times are going to come anyway; but when we are growing and stepping forth in the Lord, we are far more equipped to deal with them
2. (11-16) Nehemiah's secret tour
a. After being in Jerusalem three days, Nehemiah has still not told anyone why he is there and what God has put on his heart: I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem
i. When Nehemiah entered Jerusalem with a military escort and lumber from the king of Persia's forest, people would notice him - but he didn't say anything about his mission until the time was right. Good leaders learn a sense of God's timing
ii. Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem, full of heart, full of prayer, full of faith, full of wisdom, full of a big vision, full of support from the king, and finally gets to his destination - and what does he do? Nothing! Nothing for three days
b. It seems that Nehemiah set out from the west side of the city, and turned left towards the south, continuing counter-clockwise around the rubble of the city walls, until coming back to his starting point
c. Instead, he carefully studied the broken down walls and the burned gates; viewed in verses 13 and 15 is a medical term for "probing a wound to see the extent of its damage"
i. For the first time, Nehemiah sees with his eyes what had been reported to him, and what God had called him to repair. There is no way he could have made this tour with a dry eye, knowing the extent of the damage and the fear, poverty, and insecurity the broken walls meant in the lives of the people
d. Nehemiah knew the job of rebuilding the walls couldn't go forth unless he saw exactly how bad the situation was
i. Nehemiah could have focused on all that was right with Jerusalem. They were regathered, the exile was over. The temple was built. Sacrifice and worship were conducted. Progress was being made, slow as it was. There was much to be thankful for in Jerusalem - but sometimes, one needs to look at what is wrong, and that is what Nehemiah did.
ii. We deceive ourselves if we only look to what is good. Some have no trouble with this; they always like to see what is wrong. They are full of criticism. They believe they have the unique spiritual gift of pointing out what is wrong. But Nehemiah teaches us by example - we must look at the broken down towers, and carefully study what is wrong - but only if we have the heart, the prayer, the vision, the passion to be used of God to set it right. There is little use in the Kingdom of God for sideline critics, backseat drivers, and Monday morning quarterbacks!
iii. But with the right hearts - hearts ready to act - we have to take an honest look. "It is utter folly to refuse to believe that things are as bad as they really are. It is vital in any undertaking for God to know the worst, for whenever there is to be a wonderful movement of the Holy Spirit, it begins with someone like Nehemiah who was bold enough to look at facts, to diagnose them, and then to rise to the task." (Redpath)
iv. Look around at the people in your midst. Many are strong, joyful, growing, in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Many have victory over sin. We are thankful for that. But let's look at all the walls - let's look at the broken down portions. Some among us are desperately hurting. Some are trapped in a cycle of sin and want to get out, but don't know how to ask for help. Some feel like they are on the outside looking in. Some respect God, but haven't yet given their lives to Jesus Christ. God can, and will, build up all the portions of this church family!
v. Take a look at your children. You love them, you care for them - but look at them honestly. Do you see their weaknesses of character? Do you see the areas where they fall short? What will become of them if those weaknesses mark their entire personality? What if they grow up rejecting Jesus? What of their future ruin unless God uses you to train and nurture their character?
vi. What of your business? Your relationships? Your friendships? Are you taking an honest look, or only looking at what's pretty?
vii. Take a look at your church. You love your church, you are thankful for what God has done here. But look honestly. Can we be satisfied with the impact we have made on this community? We are thankful for those who have come to Jesus through this ministry. Can we say it is enough? That there should not be far more? We are thankful for the support of the people and how God meets our needs financially - but can we say it is enough? That there should not be more? We are thankful for the Word of God as it goes out from here. But is it getting out enough? Cannot more be done as God's Word through this ministry goes out further and broader?
viii. What if someone took a tour of your life the same way Nehemiah took a tour of Jerusalem? Proverbs 25:28 says: Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. Would your life be like a city with broken walls - making you live with a constant sense of fear, poverty, and insecurity? Don't hide your eyes from the broken down places; God wants to change them - and He wants to make a step towards it today, right now
e. As much as anything, Nehemiah was taking time to count the cost before starting the work. He has a heart, he has faith, he has a vision - but before that vision can become a reality, he has to see exactly what has to be done, and what it will cost - in terms of time, effort, money, and leadership
3. (17-18) Nehemiah meets with the leaders of Jerusalem
a. The citizens and leaders of Jerusalem were not sitting around waiting for a superman to come along and rebuild their walls. They had no doubt just come to accept that it was an impossible job. After all, who could fix a 100 year-old problem? Years ago, when someone tried, didn't enemies stop them? So they lived with it
b. Now, when Nehemiah comes and explains his vision for the rebuilding of the walls to the leaders of the city, there is a tremendous amount of importance attached to this meeting - Nehemiah can't do the job by himself, and what if the leaders don't support him?
i. No doubt this was something Nehemiah prayed about a lot. "O Lord, prepare the hearts of the leaders of Jerusalem to support this work You have called me to. Let them see I do not come condemning or criticizing them, only to help. Give me the right words to say, and speak to them ahead of time about this work You have called me to."
c. Nehemiah wisely approached them leaders of Jerusalem. He had to. In the accomplishment of any vision or goal - or at least of a God-sized vision or goal, there will be certain people essential to accomplishing the goal - you must have their help. Nehemiah's wise approach gives us an example to follow
i. He asked them to notice the obvious: You see the distress; sometimes, the obvious is the hardest to see
ii. He did not come as if he was there to fix their problem: the distress that we are in. Nehemiah owned the problem as his also, even though he might not have. Nehemiah didn't play the blame game. He didn't criticize the leaders of Jerusalem. He simply identified right with them regarding the problem
iii. He called for their partnership: Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah figured if God could move upon the heart of a pagan king to partner in this work, He certainly could move upon the hearts of His own people to join in! Nehemiah wasn't there to do it for them, but to partner with them in the job of restoring Jerusalem and its people
iv. He pointed them to the result: that we may no longer be a reproach. This wasn't really about bricks and mortar; it was about removing a condition of shame, fear, poverty, and insecurity among God's people. The hard work involving bricks and mortar would be worth it, because it would have real spiritual impact in both individuals and the community
aa. When David saw Goliath and was outraged that this monster was casting disgrace on the people of God, he simply said, Is there not a cause? (1 Samuel 17:29). Everyone else was self focused and figuring the odds, and David said, "let's get the job done. I'm willing for God to use me to do it."
v. He encouraged them in the Lord: I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me. Nehemiah assured the leaders this wasn't his project, it was God's project. If people sense your vision is really all about you, and raising you up, and making you great, they will rightly be hesitant. But if it is from God, and they can see it, they will be thrilled to partner with you
vi. He gave them confidence by telling of what God had already done: I told them . . . of the king's words that he had spoken to me. Nehemiah could say, "Look, you can know this is of God; the heart of the king of Persia has been touched by the Lord to support this project!" If something has God's fingerprints on it, people will want to support it; if it has only man's fingerprints on it, they will rightly hesitate
vii. Notice what Nehemiah didn't do: he didn't beg or make deals. Nehemiah had a high calling from God, and would plead with others to be part of that vision, but he never stopped treating it like a high calling. He wasn't going to be a carnival barker trying to manipulate people into knocking over milk bottles even when they really didn't want to
viii. Nehemiah didn't offer rewards, incentives, or vacations out at the Sea of Galilee for the ones who got the job done. Those are all external motivations, and aren't God's highest calling. Nehemiah simply said, "Let's stop kidding around. We know there's a job to be done, and God is leading us to get it done now." He relied on the Lord and the leaders to create a true inward motivation. External motivation - manipulation, guilt, pressure, carnal rewards can work for a while, but are never a part of God's vision for getting things done
d. The response of the leaders of Jerusalem was of God: Let us rise up and build. They said, "Yes, Nehemiah, we're with you!" This all the more remarkable considering the ways they might have responded - ways we might respond when we are challenged to partner in a work
i. They might have denied the need for the walls. "You know, we have gotten along without those walls for a hundred years now! After all, we already have the temple!" But do you really only want to "get along"? Doesn't God have more for you, and isn't now the time to enter in?
ii. They might have seen the project as too much work - "Well Nehemiah, it's a fine work, and we hope it goes well for you. Don't think we can help you now." But are we really so unwilling to pay the price for something that is truly of God?
iii. They might have seen the opposition as too strong. "Nehemiah, why even start? We tried before and our enemies stopped us. It will just happen again." But are we really filled with so little faith?
e. The glorious result: Then they set their hands to do this good work. Praise God! Nehemiah's heart, and prayer, and boldness, and big vision, and action, and wisdom, were all rewarded. This was a God-thing; He moved the hearts of the leaders to do this
i. How do we know Nehemiah was a great leader? People followed him. Those he was meant to lead were genuinely influenced by his leadership
4. (19) The opposition rises in response to the work of God
a. Things have been going extraordinarily well; it's time to hear from the opposition again! Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official both come to oppose the work
i. Spiritual oppostion to the work God wants to accomplish is a reality many Christians fail to take account of, and are thus defeated in what God would what them to do
ii. The Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, took on humanity to experience spiritual warfare even as you do; He knows what it is to be under attack, how to break through to victory, and so He knows how to lead His peoplet to victory
b. Who were these men?
i. These two first surfaced in Nehemiah 2:10; they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel. They had previousl made their opinion known; now they will seek to do something about the progress Nehemiah is making
ii. Tobiah (a Jewish name) was a man of influence, being associated with the high priest's family, and getting help from the priests (Nehemiah 13:4); "Tobiah" was a prominent name in priestly families for generations to come. The name "Tobiah" means "Yahweh is good" - a funny name for an opponent of the work of God
iii. Sanballat was connected by marriage to priestly families (Nehemiah 13:28). An ancient document from this period refers to Sanballat as "governor of Samaria." (Kidner)
iv. These men were Jews - were fellow brothers - of Nehemiah and the citizens of Jerusalem. We might have thought they would have supported his work, but they do not. Opposition is always difficult; but when it comes from brothers, it is then mixed with the pain of betrayal as well
v. Who are our opponents? The Bible makes it clear we have enemies and opponents also; but chiefly they are spiritual enemies: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against . . . spiritual armies of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). However, we also realize that attacks from spiritual enemies can come through flesh-and-blood people (Matthew 16:23). We can experience spiritual attack on a direct inward level from spiritual enemies, or through people who are, wittingly or unwittingly, being used as tools by our spiritual enemies
c. Sanballat and Tobiah used scorn in their attack; they wanted Nehemiah to feel mocked, stupid, and foolish. They laughed us to scorn shows that they showed their spite (and despised us) with a humorous edge
i. This scorn may come to us in an inward feeling ("who am I trying to kid? I must be some kind of fool!") or through the words of those who, if they know it or not, are being used by our spiritual enemies
ii. How many people have been turned away from God's will because they have experienced or feared scorn! Men who were not afraid of death have been manipulated because they did not want to be laughed at!
iii. Sooner or later, God will allow every Christian to be tested at this point: who do you regard more, man or God? Are you more concerned about what people may say about you than what God requires of you?
iv. How do you use humor? Are you a tool of the enemy against others, all for the sake of a few laughs?
d. Sanballat and Tobiah had a low view of God's authority; Will you rebel against the king? shows they figured the king of Persia was the highest authority in the land
i. First, they are completely ignorant. They don't know what they are talking about. The king had given permission! He is a partner in the work! Many times, the those who are being used by our spiritual enemies against us simply don't know what they are talking about!
ii. Second, they are not concerned with God's authority. So what if the king of Persia was against it? Is the God of heaven and earth for it? One with God is a majority! Nehemiah could have turned the question back on them: Will you rebel against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
5. (20) Nehemiah's answer to his opponnents
a. Nehemiah ignored their scorn. His bold, straightforward words show he has not been put on the defensive by their mocking, scornful attack
i. When faced with the choice of pleasing man or pleasing God, Nehemiah knew exactly what he would do. Let them mock - he will serve the Lord
b. Nehemiah did not give a point-by-point reply. He did not show the document proving the king's support of the project; Sanballat and Tobiah would have just claimed it was a forgery, or would have come up with another objection. Nehemiah knew that a heart that refuses to be convinced will never be convinced
c. Nehemiah instead proclaims his confidence in God: The God of heaven Himself will prosper us. "It doesn't matter if you are against us. God's work will succeed."
i. Nehemiah didn't put the work on hold while a crisis response team could figure out the best way to answer Sanballat and Tobiah. He wasn't going to let them side-track him. He had a work to do and he was going to do it. If you allow your enemies to get you to stop what you should be doing and give all your attention to them, they've won!
ii. There is a touch of holy boldness in Nehemiah's response. "Go ahead and take your best shot. It won't work. God is with us. He isn't with you. You will fail. We will prosper under the hand of the God of heaven!"
d. Nehemiah proclaims who he is and what he should do: we His servants . . . will arise and build.
i. Nehemiah and his followers were servants of God. Sanballat and Tobiah felt confident because they were servants of the king; but Nehemiah is a servant of God
ii. Nehemiah and his followers had a job to do. Not for a moment did he say, "Gee, maybe this isn't God's will!" They had agreed to rise up and build (2:18), and they will do it
iii. In battling our enemies, we must always keep focus on who we are and what we should do; failure to see these will always lead to defeat. These are exactly the things our spiritual enemies want us to forget! And sometimes, you just have to proclaim it!
e. Nehemiah proclaims the truth about his enemies: you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem. They may have been Jews by birth; they may have been legal citizens of Jerusalem; they may have owned property in the city. But their hearts showed they had no heritage or right or memorial in God's city
i. Nehemiah sized these two up more quickly than we often do; he knew they weren't for him or for Jerusalem, or for God at all - though they may have claimed to be!
ii. "You don't belong here. God's doing a great work here, and you don't want to be part of it. Just move on."
iii. We can say they same to our spiritual enemies: "you have no heritage or right or memorial in me. I belong to Jesus Christ. You don't belong here. May has well move on!"
f. What became of this opposition? We wish that if we did everything right, as Nehemiah did here, the opposition would just go away. But it didn't. These two opposed the work all they way until it was done. But they didn't stop it! God's work got done, and they were proved completely wrong.