The bullies, who had been in charge of the area for many years, did not like the new kids coming in to rebuild. The tactic they used to try to discourage the Israelites is very similar to what bullies still do. They say hurtful things and make fun of others. In the eyes of a bully, he sees himself as better when he can bring everyone else down. Typically, there is no substance to anything they say, but this technique is very effective in making someone worry about how others view them.
Sanballat and the others call the Israelites names and make fun of the rebuilding effort. They mock that the job to rebuild as an impossible one, and the building skills of the Israelites is so poor that even the lightest of animals could knock it down.
The effectiveness of these gang-mentality techniques lies completely within the one being mocked. Everything that is happening is just words, no truth or threat. The best thing to do is ignore it. But Nehemiah and his fellow Israelites go one better. They pray.
They prayed that Sanballat and the others would be taken captive just like they were. They don’t point out personal pride as the reason. They see that this mocking is actually against God and not just them. They ask God to go ahead and act out in His anger toward them!
Then notice what happens next. They don’t sit and whine because they are being mocked. They don’t stop working and wait for the Lord to destroy their enemies. They ignore the reproach, leave it in the hands of God, and get back to work.
There are going to be detractors who will seek to interrupt our walk with God. We don’t need to waste a lot of time with them. We should just ignore their words, leave their situation in the hands of a righteous and all-powerful God, and then get back to serving the Lord. When we “have a mind” to work in the Lord’s service, nothing can stand in our way!