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Turn to God, When the Enemy Turns Against You

Rev. Enoch Thompson | November 12, 2023 | Nehemiah 4:1-6


Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. Nehemiah 4:4-5 (NIV)


In the continued battle for our souls, and for the great work of our gracious God in our feeble hands we need to consistently run back to God and seek His help to enable us to keep on track. Nehemiah’s prayers were spontaneous, he prayed as things happened around him. He did not need any prompters, soothing music and a clamouring crowd, to call upon God as a response to the challenges he faced.

Turn to God when the enemy turns against you! That should be the first response to answer life’s questions. Someone has said that life’s examinations have no timetable, so be always prepared! Our primary preparation for our life’s examinations would be in the matter of our consciousness of God, a living real faith in God which makes prayer as natural as the breath we take.

Nehemiah’s prayer here shows the personal relationship that he and his people had with God. He refers to God as “our God.” He acknowledges that God was able to return the insults of their opposers on their heads. He hands them over to the judgment of God because “they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.” We cannot and must not seek to take vengeance on our enemies, but we can summon them before the justice of our just God. We will not call for the death of those who hate us, but we will call God to deal with them to hold them at bay.


When you sense the presence and operations of human and spiritual forces that work against you, run to God for shelter, and summon the opposition to the justice of God. Pray, and don’t stop praying. God answers prayers!


Father in Heaven, thank you for the gift of prayer, thank you for the examples of biblical prayers, and thank you for my experience of prayer.

I ask that you please empower me to be a person who prays. May I come to that place where prayer is normal, spontaneous, and effortless. And, Lord, may I see answers to my prayers, for Jesus’ dear Name’s sake, Amen.




DAILY word study: DESPISED

In Hebrew, the word Despised is translated as בּוּז-Buz. It means to regard with contempt; to treat as unworthy or beneath consideration. This term reflects the emotional weight of being scorned or disdained. In other biblical contexts, the Hebrew word "Buz" (בּוּז) is used to signify contempt, scorn, or disdain. It represents a strong negative emotion or attitude directed towards someone or something, indicating a profound lack of respect or regard. This term is employed to describe the act of treating someone or something with utter disdain and disregard. For example:

  • Psalm 22:6 (NIV): "But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people." Here, the Psalmist expresses the profound sense of being despised, echoing the sentiment of being treated as less than human.

  • Isaiah 53:3 (NIV): "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem." This prophecy about the suffering servant, fulfilled in Christ, emphasizes the depth of contempt and rejection.

In exploring the Hebrew context of Nehemiah 4:4-5, we delve into the nuanced meaning of the term "Despised" (בּוּז), unravelling its profound implications of contempt and disdain within the biblical narrative. This deeper understanding sheds light on the intense emotions and attitudes conveyed in the passage.:

  1. Context of Opposition: The people engaged in rebuilding the wall faced not only physical challenges but also emotional and spiritual attacks. The term "despised" captures the emotional toll of being scorned for their efforts.

  2. Turning to God in Prayer: Nehemiah's immediate response to the feeling of being despised is to turn to God in prayer. This reflects a profound trust in God's justice and a recognition that ultimate vindication comes from Him.

  3. Imprecatory Prayer: Nehemiah's prayer takes the form of an imprecatory prayer, asking God to turn the insults back on their enemies. This reveals the raw emotion and frustration of the builders in the face of persistent opposition.


How can the experience of being despised, as seen in Nehemiah's prayer, shape our understanding of vulnerability and reliance on God in the face of opposition? Nehemiah's example teaches us that in moments of feeling despised, turning to prayer is a powerful and courageous act.

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