The Jews who were called by the Lord to rebuild the wall in the days of Nehemiah did not serve for the applause of their neighbors. Important local leaders openly scoffed at this project and did all that they could to discourage the Lord’s people. These enemies were angry and dangerous.
Nehemiah appealed to the Lord for help. “Hear, O our God, for we are despised.” He looked to the Lord for deliverance.
Most importantly, the Lord’s people kept on working. With their disciplined efforts came progress and increased opposition. How did the builders respond to the schemes of their enemies? They prayed to God and they kept guard to protect themselves against any attacks that might come against them.
The opposition to this great project came not only from other people groups. Some Jews spoke against the mission. Even those who were on the front lines may have felt that they were reaching the end of their strength. The builders took up arms for their own protection. In this time of great trouble Nehemiah directed everyone’s attention away from enemies and toward the Lord. Then he urged them to be ready to fight for their families and their homes.
When the Lord’s people resisted evil, they found the strength to continue their work on the wall. With one hand carrying a weapon and one hand doing the work of building, the Lord’s servants moved forward in the task that God had given them. Nehemiah urged them with this inspiring word: “Our God will fight for us.” Night and day they attended to their mission.
The work that Nehemiah and his companions did was appropriate for the era in which they served. The Lord was reestablishing Israel in the land.
Our kingdom task throughout the world is different today. While some within our number are called to serve in the military, the church has an eternal mission and better weapons. We preach the Word everywhere, and the Lord uses the truth to defeat the lies of the devil. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)
We use the Word of God not only to bring the gospel to those who have yet to believe, but also to protect the Lord’s people in the church. The Lord is building a community of faith. We call one another to obey Christ. Without this accountability, we are not adequately protecting the Lord’s city.
In all our endeavors of building up the kingdom and protecting our own families, our confidence is in Jesus. The city of God throughout the world is His creation. The Word that we preach is His message. It works in our midst by His power. The One who gave His blood for this great city will achieve all of His excellent desires.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, You must be with us when our enemies mock us and laugh at the mission that You have given to us. Hear us, O Lord, for we are despised. Could it be that some of those who hate us might be granted a true heart of repentance? Many will only be moved to anger if we seem to succeed. They will not be humbled. Even within our ranks people may arise who counsel that we must abandon the work. Teach us to be wise in our thinking and in our tasks. Protect us with help from on high. May we daily hear Your Word in the depths of our hearts. Grant us a godly plan and strength of heart. May Your enemies be put to shame when they see Your faithfulness, for You know how to use our weakness for Your glory.