How to Respond to Ridicule While Being Persecuted

How to Handle Persecution #12 | with Daniel Whyte III

TEXT: Nehemiah 4:1-3: “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.”

Our passage today tells us about the time in the history of Israel after Nehemiah had led a group of the children of Israel out of exile in Persia back to their homeland in Palestine. You might recall that Nehemiah was the Persian king’s cupbearer, however when he heard about the city of Jerusalem still not being built and the walls of the city being broken down, he was so concerned about it that he got permission from the king to return to his homeland to help his people rebuild their city.

Sanballat was a Samaritan leader and an official in the local Persian government who lived during that time. Sanballat, and his allies Tobiah and Geshem, spent their time ridiculing and trying to undermine the efforts of Nehemiah and the Jews at Jerusalem.

The truth, however, is that the spirit of Sanballat has always lived in every time, and has taken form in every church. He and others like him believe that if God’s kingdom is built up it will hurt their cause so they attempt to defeat the cause of Christ and those who are attempting to accomplish things for Christ. One of the chief weapons these people who have the spirit of Sanballat use is ridicule.

Any time the people of God say, “Let us rise up and build”, there will be a Sanballat and his crowd that will rise up and say, “let us tear down.” We should not be surprised by this. For some of us, however, verbal attacks are hard to take. They don’t affect us physically, but they affect us spiritually and emotionally. Many Christians will stand strong when facing physical persecution, but will falter and collapse when being laughed at and ridiculed.

Sanballat and Tobiah verbally attacked the Jews in three areas: First, they attacked them personally. Sanballat called the Jews “feeble.” Second, they mocked their faith. Sanballat asks, “Will they sacrifice?” — He makes fun of the Jewish religion. And third, they ridicule their work. Tobiah says that if a fox walks on top of the wall that the Jews are building, he could knock it down. He tries to make the Jews lose confidence in their work.

We will face these same types of ridicule in our life as Christians — attacks on us personally, attacks on our faith, and attacks on our work for the Lord. Today, I would like us to consider three ways to respond to ridicule.

1. First of all, we should remember the cause for the ridicule.

2. Secondly, we must remember the character of those doing the ridiculing.

3. Third, we must remember the reward we receive when being ridiculed.

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