Good morning, beloved,
I sit in the quiet. It’s amazing to be quiet, isn’t it? Yesterday, in the busyness of the day, the Lord stopped me and gave me a passage of Scripture. I realize I’ve never really studied Nehemiah. A little for context with Esther, but no church I have ever attended has ever delved into the book of Nehemiah. How about you? Know any good sermons on Nehemiah? Well, we have been a tight knit family these past few months as I have not been driving. To my kids, sometimes I think the old saying, Absence make the hear grow fonder rings true in their hearts. A little absence..not such a bad thing. Yet, I believe that the Lord is knitting their hearts together. It is, by no means, a perfect stitch. They are learning self-control, how to respond to conflict..and I watch sometimes how the world can creep into their thinking. They know they have power in their words and actions. I am surprised to hear words, lingo, attitudes of when I was in school. I remember being treated my classmates with such attitudes. I remember what it felt like to be left out.
Well, conflict around here seems to be running rampant and I was asking the Lord to help me guide these kids, I believe He did, yet I believe I received the greatest gift of all. His presence, His sweet reminder that He fights for me. Nehemiah and the Jews were back building the wall. Nehemiah was the cupbearer for the King Artaxerxes of Persia. The Jews had been in captivity for many, many years. And Nehemiah heard a report that Jerusalem was ripped apart. Destroyed. His heart broke and as he brought in his king’s wine, the king noticed his sadness. (So much there!) He )Artaxerxes asked what Nehemiah needed. Nehemiah asked to go home. It was granted.
So, he went back. He gathered the Jews who would help him. They began, but not without much controversy. MUCH.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed us to scorn and despised us and said, What is this thing you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?
20 I answered them, The God of heaven will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or memorial in Jerusalem.
The task was formidable but the Lord God gave Nehemiah courage. I’m giving this story a very, very watered down version but no matter what was said to them, they built. So we pick up in chapter 4.
This was their goal: build the wall surrounding Jerusalem.
1 But when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and in a great rage, and he ridiculed the Jews.
2 And he said before his brethren and the army of Samaria, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things [at will and by themselves]? Will they [try to bribe their God] with sacrifices? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?
So what did Nehemiah do? Did he grab his men off their task and yell back, fight? Nope.
4 [And Nehemiah prayed] Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their taunts upon their own heads, and give them for a prey in a land of their captivity.
5 Cover not their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have vexed [with alarm] the builders and provoked You.
6 So we built the wall, and all [of it] was joined together to half its height, for the people had a heart and mind to work.
He prayed. Not the bland please help us. No, Nehemiah reminded God of their enemy and more importantly, had provoked the Living God.
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were going up and that the breaches were being closed, they were very angry.
8 And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem, to injure and cause confusion and failure in it.
9 But because of them we made our prayer to our God and set a watch against them day and night.
10 And [the leaders of] Judah said, The strength of the burden bearers is weakening, and there is much rubbish; we are not able to work on the wall.
11 And our enemies said, They will not know or see till we come into their midst and kill them and stop the work.
12 And when the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times, You must return [to guard our little villages]; from all places where they dwell they will be upon us.
13 So I set [armed men] behind the wall in places where it was least protected; I even thus used the people as families with their swords, spears, and bows.
14 I looked [them over] and rose up and said to the nobles and officials and the other people, Do not be afraid of the enemy; [earnestly] remember the Lord and imprint Him [on your minds], great and terrible, and [take from Him courage to] fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.
15 And when our enemies heard that their plot was known to us and that God had frustrated their purpose, we all returned to the wall, everyone to his work.
16 And from that time forth, half of my servants worked at the task, and the other half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail; and the leaders stood behind all the house of Judah.
A couple of things to point out in this section. God allowed the Jews to hear of the plot before it occurred. Every person, it seems, was set to work. Families. Protection came from all sizes. Anywhere where the wall was weak, Nehemiah brought protection. He brought encouragement…do not be afraid, remember the Lord, take courage from Him. God frustrated the plot.
17 Those who built the wall and those who bore burdens loaded themselves so that everyone worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other hand,
18 And every builder had his sword girded by his side, and so worked. And he who sounded the trumpet was at my side.
There is a lesson here for us. We have a responsibility given by God in our daily tasks, no matter our line of work, to remember the walls are weak that surround us when we are not saturated in His Word, His truth, His Spirit and we allow these critical “streams of living water” to dry up. When controversy, strife, conflict come into our lives, what will our first response be? Will I pray? Will I ask the Lord to fight for me or will I go in fists raised fighting for my rights? To go one step further, Nehemiah was doing the will of God. God’s will was for that wall to be built up. The people who helped they were doing God’s will. Are you doing God’s will for your life?
19 And I said to the nobles and officials and the rest of the people, The work is great and scattered, and we are separated on the wall, one far from another.
20 In whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.
21 So we labored at the work while half of them held the spears from dawn until the stars came out.
22 At that time also I said to the people, Let everyone with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that at night they may be a guard to us and a laborer during the day.
23 So none of us—I, my kinsmen, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me—took off our clothes; each kept his weapon [in his hand for days].
You and I were never meant to walk this road alone. Ever. One, we have His Spirit alive in us if we have given our hearts to the Lord. Two, we have great opportunities for community. We have to reach out and grab it, yes. When we have a community of believers surrounding us, when we cry out for prayer and help, when we sound the trumpet, we know and can have confidence that our brothers and sisters in Christ will rally to us.
Our God will fight for us.
13 Moses told the people, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again.
14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.
24 And in the morning watch the Lord through the pillar of fire and cloud looked down on the host of the Egyptians and discomfited [them],
25 And bound (clogged, took off) their chariot wheels, making them drive heavily; and the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians!
29 Then I said to you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.
30 The Lord your God Who goes before you, He will fight for you just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes..
22 You shall not fear them, for the Lord your God shall fight for you.
23 And I besought the Lord at that time, saying,
24 O Lord God, You have only begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth that can do according to Your works and according to Your might?
Our God fights for us. Remember that as you walk into your day today. Your God fights for you. Thank You, Lord, for fighting for me.
39. I’m thankful for a snuggling boy this morning.
40. I’m thankful for my kids going to AWANA and the encouragement they find in memorizing His Word.
41. I’m so very thankful for my precious God who fights for me, especially when I don’t have a CLUE how to remedy a situation.
Pray on. Pray on.
- Nehemiah 6:2 Bible Verse of the Day (momsfirstscreenn.wordpress.com)
- Joy To Your World (mytotallyother.wordpress.com)
- Your Portion! – Nehemiah 2: 9 – 20 [Basic Bible] | Bible Resources (spiceofyourlife.wordpress.com)
- My Nehemiah Prayer (journeytoepiphany.com)
- Prayer’s Power (penman37.blogspot.com)