Each time I read about Nehemiah re-building the walls of Jerusalem, the details of Sanballat and Tobiah's opposition, ridicule, and even hatred of God's plan stands out in glaring contrast to the events God was moving forward all around them. They were continually trying to stop the work favorable to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Nehemiah and the Jews poured themselves into the work-- believing that God would give them success (2:20).
The Enemy's Discouraging Lie.
Nehemiah 4:1-3: "'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...said,'What they are building--if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones.'"
What was the intention of the Enemy's words? To make them believe that what they were doing would make no difference; that it was inadequate; that to continue to work would be foolish.
The People's Weariness.
Their Enemy's words had sunk in: "It's too big. You will never accomplish it. Your work doesn't matter."
Then, the Enemy moved in with words of fear--ten times they circulated rumors that wherever the Jews went, they would be attacked. The initial verbal assault, "It isn't possible" turned into, "It isn't safe."
Nehemiah 6:9 sums it up: "They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, 'Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.'"
Every accusation and false reasoning had one goal: for the people to STOP doing God's work.
The people had grown weary of carrying away enormous loads of rubble while picking up bricks, hauling them to the building site and laying them into place, all the while being on guard every minute against possible physical attack by their enemies. Their physical hands needed strength to continue, but their hearts needed strength to keep on with the work God had put before them.
For those who are discouraged and hearing the Enemy's lie that their labor in the Lord "doesn't matter" the book of Hebrews reminds us:
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. Hebrews 6:10-11.