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Don't Stop Building - Working Through Criticism


You're on top of the world! Doing BIG things for God. You can feel his hand on what you're doing, and then it happens.  Criticism comes knocking at your door and punches the air from your lungs. Suddenly, as if the magic bubble has been burst; the rose colored glasses were broken and thrown away it seems small, insignificant, useless. A drop in the ocean.

Nehemiah got to Jerusalem ready to do big things, the people were on fire! They were going to do great things, rebuild the walls. And then the big Kahunas around them, surrounding them found out and didn't like it.

So they criticized their work. Told them it was a joke, pathetic and impossible. Who do you think you are they shouted. If a fox jumped on it, it would crumble, they laughed. What do you think Nehemiah did? Throw his hands in the air shouting "you know what? You're right. It's hot, it's too hard, we're tired," No, he fell on his knees before God (V.4-5) and poured out his heart to God. Then he got up, brushed himself off and went back to work.

When that didn't work they tried intimidation. We're going to come up and we're going to kill you, and you know what? You won't even see us coming!" The people got worried, and the work stopped as they worried and fretted. They're on all sides! We don't have a chance! There are too many of them! The wall is only half what it should be. What are we going to do?

Nehemiah looked over the walls and then armed the workers placing them to work on the wall near their homes. Then he turned to the quivering people begging him for answers and reminded them that they serve an awesome God, and the work continued.

“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14


Then the internal bickering started, we're hungry! They're growing rich on us! We can't afford to feed our families.

At the meeting, I said to them, “We are doing all we can to redeem our Jewish relatives who have had to sell themselves to pagan foreigners, but you are selling them back into slavery again. How often must we redeem them?” And they had nothing to say in their defense. Nehemiah 5:8

Then Nehemiah's enemies showed up again, they'd finished the walls but the gates weren't up yet. So they took a little more roundabout way of attacking him this time. So maybe we were wrong, why don't you come down and meet us and we'll talk about it.

But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. Nehemiah 6:3-4


They held out a supposed hand, come on why don't you join us. So we were wrong the walls are up. Nehemiah knew they were scheming so instead of saying, Oh, well you finally noticed. You're going to let me sit with you guys on at the big kid table, Oh, well fine! He looked at them and said sorry, I'm doing a great work (you know that one that you said was small, unimportant and impossible. Yeah, that one). Why should I stop to come down to meet you? Oh, come on! Are you supposed to forgive and forget right? Just come meet us.

When this didn't work they decided to blacken his name, Oh well there's a rumor going around that you guys are just building the wall so you can rebel and become king, we'd hate for these reports to get back to the king. So come and meet us.

But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 6:9

When this didn't work they sent people to intimidate Nehemiah. To prophesy against him, and make him fear for his life. To make him stumble, and give them something to bring him down with. But the next verse is the best...

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. Nehemiah 6:15

Despite all the lies, the intimidation tactics, the threats, the criticism The. Wall. Was. Completed. That project that was impossible? Was finished. Those people who had no right to try something so big did it. The. Wall. Was. Completed.

When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. Nehemiah 6:16

They realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. How big is that? Those same people who mocked said, "Whoa! God. Is. With. Them."

Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25

 Criticism hurts- especially when it comes from those who you thought would support you. But when you are chasing the dream God put in your heart. When you are blooming where he planted you it doesn't matter what the world says. It doesn't matter what they think- keep your eyes on Him and keep building. You can only fear one, to follow one. God or man. I choose God, what about you?

4 comments:

  1. I love reading about Nehemiah. Well done ladies! Such a poignant post of encouragement. It can definitely be disheartening when that punch to the gut comes from the unexpected but God asks us to persevere. We must push forward in doing what he calls us to do. I needed to hear these words of inspiration as I work to complete my book. Amazing how God knows what we need and exactly when to provide it. Thank you for sharing these thoughts today. So blessed to visit your site. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and may God richly bless you and yours in all your endeavors!

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    1. Thank you! So glad they touched you. Good luck with your book! Blessings, Rosevine Cottage Girls

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  2. Isn't it amazing how God is seen through situations we consider rough? If we continue being faithful to God, those who are working against Him will see He is the one they are fighting and back away. I'm thankful for God who is always there where we see Him or not. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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