“Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?” Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!” Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.” (Nehemiah 4:1–5 ESV)
Sanballat is angry (and greatly enraged) that the Jews were rebuilding the wall. Maybe this was motivated by fear? Regardless of the motivation, he mocked the “feeble Jews.” Being a feeble Jew undoubtedly was designed to be an insult, but how much more does the glory of God shine through broken, feeble and weak people? The same is true of us. It is often times not the most glamorous and gifted people of this world that are faithful. We seem to think that if we could be at the top of our field (athletics, business, recreation, etc) then we could be so much more influential for God, but God is most glorified through the weak things of this world. “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27 ESV). Remember that it is the meek that will inherit the earth, not the powerful and strong. God prophesied (and is acting upon) this reversal of fortunes – see 1 Sam. 2:1–8; Isa. 61:1; cf. Luke 1:52; John 9:39.
Tobiah joins with Sanballat in jeering the “feeble Jews,” but Nehemiah retaliates. How? By asking God to intervene. How often do we respond in kind to those who mock us? How often do we defend? Nehemiah, again, knows that this project is about God’s glory and this is His mission so He is the one that will have to help the “feeble Jews” overcome this obstacle. Lord, make us a people who see your glory as preeminent and ask you to intervene on our behalf when your glory is threatened by others. Make us more accurate reflectors of your glory.