Nehemiah 12:43 “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.”
I cannot say that there is a saved person that relishes confrontation or contention. Most try to avoid the situation and circumstances altogether. If a person is known to cause contention, they should be avoided because it may very well engage our pride.
Proverbs 13:10 “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”
Proverbs 17:14 “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”
Those who seem to draw us into such situations are known biblically as scorners. There is action to be taken when identified.
Proverbs 22:10 “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.”
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines scorn as:
1. Extreme contempt; that disdain which springs from a person’s opinion of the meanness of an object, and consciousness or belief of his superiority or worth.
So, those who seem superior in their attitude, condescending in their communication, and dominate others by word or force are to be cast out.
Often, when there is an absence of sincere praise and worship on behalf of the church, scorners appear and further squelch the spirit of the people, and the Holy Spirit will not have the freedom to move among the people.
In Nehemiah’s account of the work, the opposition, and the completion of the building of the wall, he reveals how the people came together under a common goal. When each did their part, they were able to have a sense of ownership in the final product. Each could tell their children and grandchildren what part their family had in the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Patriotism ran high. But with Nehemiah, was Ezra, the preacher. Together, they brought the people of Israel to work with unity of body, soul, and spirit. They invoked God not just to oversee the work, but to be their strength, their guide, and their protector.
They had leadership that stood against the opposition to the work God had sent them to do. Nehemiah took matters in hand to not only oppose from without but also from within. He stood against Sanballat and Tobiah when they tried to stop them from working. He stood against the nobles who were lazy and privileged.
He stood against the oppression of those who sought to gain from their own brethren’s poverty by exacting interest on money lent for them to build.
With all that had happened, the people saw the hand of God guide them to completion. Once completed, they began to offer sacrifice as God had commanded. The celebration that ensued caused such rejoicing that their voices were heard afar off.
All of us can see that this world is waxing worse and worse; and quickly. Our testimony and how we interact with this world matters. They need to hear us tell of the wondrous things of God practically. You and I can tell of the services at church, but most cannot relate to that.
We must be real in our workplace and our neighborhood. Being real and approachable in everyday life will go a long way in opening the door to giving the gospel. Be kind. Be humble. Be sincere. But, also be vocal about the things of God.
The world can tell of their exploits of the weekend. Let us tell them of the souls saved, the people restored, and the truths we heard. We must not be ashamed of the life we lead. In doing so, we cannot underestimate the reach our testimony will have for others.
When we are unrestricted in our telling and unashamed of our God, our voice will travel farther than we could ever imagine.