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Friday, December 9, 2011

Marketing 101: A Wrench in the Works, Continued

    Sanballat and Tobiah had tried, first, to frighten Nehemiah, the leader, of the rebuilding effort so that the work would not get passed the planning phase. Their taunts failed to hinder Nehemiah, however. Nehemiah pressed on and the people joined in resolving to rebuild the wall.      Okay, then, the wrench would need to be thrown in the middle of the workers. Workers, ha! What a joke, thought the two wrenches as they headed for the wall. They would just focus on the people doing the work. A rocket barrage of serious doubts launched right at the start of a new challenge we are undertaking can really implode our morale, especially if we are untrained workers. Attacks on our competence, being made to feel ignorant and humiliated in front of others, can all serve to demoralize us and weaken what abilities we do possess.  When we find ourselves out of our own comfort zone, we, normally, feel more than a bit on shaky ground. Our minds find thoughts such as these popping up at every turn: I’ve never done this before and I really might not be able to do it in the end. All this work for nothing and my failure will be seen by everyone. Who am I, anyway, to think I can do this kind of work? I am an accountant, not a body builder.

Nehemiah 4: 1-3 reads,”When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, ‘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 the Ammonite (Wrench #2), who was at his side, said, ‘What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!’”

     Uh, I don’t think so. Nehemiah was building that stone wall four meters (13 feet) thick; unless, of course, the fox was the size of a very large elephant who had managed to get his entire herd, simultaneously, to jump up with him—maybe, then, some of it would break down? Nevertheless, the people knew that they were not builders and yet they were trying to rebuild the wall. The heckling had to have some effect on them and their confidence. But, to their credit, they did not quit! (We could note here, however, that Nehemiah’s prayer for his enemies fairly well included a call for God to deal with the enemies as only God could! Paraphrased by Sojourner as “You heard those guys, God; get them good”!)

     Okay, the wrenches would have to come up with something else. Taunting and heckling was getting them nowhere. They needed to step things up a bit because the work was continuing as though Sanballat and Tobiah were not even there! They can take the criticism of their labors and still work so let’s throw in the fear factor to that humiliation, planned the wrenches in the works.

Nehemiah 4:6-9: “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.”

     Nehemiah had a two-prong defense planned here in verse 9:”But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.”

     I love this verse because it is exactly what we need to do under difficult circumstances. If we know that God has asked us to do something but find a huge wrench in the works—first we pray to our Heavenly Father who had asked us to do this and then we do what we can; we don’t just sit and wait for something supernatural to happen first!

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