Three lessons: 1) Expect attacks designed to keep us from building walls of protection against the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17); 2) A righteous leader defends the oppressed (Neh. 5); and 3) Stay alert and stand firm against the lies, threats, and schemes of the enemy. It took 52 days but they won (chap. 6)!
Nehemiah determined to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, even though there was fierce opposition. He armed workers with their swords, their spears, and their bows (Neh. 4:13). He also said: Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible (to be reverenced). . . . our God shall fight for us. So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared (4:14,20-21; compare Num. 14:9; Ex. 14:13-14). Working about 12 hours a day left little time for anything else. The Israelites' faith had been strengthened through the reading of the Word of God.
Sanballat again attempted to stop their work, saying: Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono (Neh. 6:2), about 28 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Nehemiah replied: I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? (6:3).
After Sanballat made five attempts to meet with Nehemiah, he accused him of rebelling against the king of Persia (6:5-7). When this failed, Sanballat hired a prophet to foretell Nehemiah's death.
Eleven times it is recorded that Nehemiah prayed (1:4-11; 2:4; 4:4-5,9; 5:19; 6:9,14; 13:14,22,29,31). He encouraged his workers, saying: The God of heaven . . . will prosper us. . . . for the people had a mind to work. . . . So the wall was finished . . . in fifty and two days (2:20; 4:6; 6:15).
Once we recognize that the battle is the LORD'S (I Sam. 17:47), and God is the One who allows the opposition, we will not panic. Instead, we will seek to learn what the Lord expects of us in order to qualify to have our prayers answered. People of faith, though a minority, will always find a way to accomplish the will of God. In serving the Lord, one great temptation is that many will find excuses to wait for a more convenient time rather than to put the Lord first and do their best with what they have. Jesus said: I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work (John 9:4).
Thought for Today:
With God all things are possible. . . . And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Matt. 19:26,29).
By Nehemiah and other Jews who had bought back (redeemed) some Jews who had been sold to the heathen as slaves while in Persia (Neh. 5:8). We, which He hath purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28), were redeemed when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
4:7 breaches =broken places; 4:10 strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed =strength of the workmen is failing; 4:20 resort ye thither =assemble there; 5:3 dearth =famine; 5:7 usury =interest; 5:10 exact of them =require; 6:8 feignest =made up the story.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Iva Jo Swinsburg • Government Officials: Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM) and Rep. Mike Pence (IN) • Country: Mauritania (2.6 million) in western Africa • Major language: Hasaniya Arabic • Islamic state with no mission work allowed • 99+% Muslim (predominantly Sunni); .2% Christian (predominantly foreigners) • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that you will sanctify the Lord God in your heart (I Pet. 3:15).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 9
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 1:7