At times the task God gives His people seems so large that they begin to believe there is no way it can be accomplished. There is some truth in that, because as the Apostle Matthew records:
â€œBut Jesus looked at them and said to them, â€˜With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.â€™â€ (Matthew 19:26)
The work of the Christian leader, whether he is a pastor, evangelist, teacher, lay preacher, can be difficult at best and defeating at worst. When the going gets tough most will want to leave and many will. How do you rally the troops when you are facing a monumental mission, the workers are weary, and you are surrounded by your enemies? Nehemiah faced this very challenge:
â€œNow it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night. Then Judah said, â€˜The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.â€™ And our adversaries said, â€˜They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.â€™ So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, â€˜From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.â€™â€ (Nehemiah 4:7-12)
I want you to put yourself in Nehemiahâ€™s place right at this moment. You look at your subordinate leaders and they are ready to give up. As you survey the landscape before you, there is so much work to do it seems you will never accomplish it. And as you look outside the city walls, you see you are surrounded by the enemy that has changed from mockery to malice with the intent to murder. Most of us would return to Babylon and King Artaxerxesâ€™ court and resume our place as the cupbearer. Thank goodness for Judah that Nehemiah was not like most of us:
â€œTherefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, â€˜Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.â€™ And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.â€™ Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, â€˜The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.â€™â€ (Nehemiah 4:13-20)
â€œOur God will fight for us.â€ Nehemiah could have said, â€œMy plan is solid and I expect everyone to do their part.â€ Thatâ€™s what most politicians and even many Christian leaders say today. Nehemiah no doubt understood and lived the truth of Godâ€™s sovereignty:
â€œA manâ€™s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.â€ (Proverbs 16:9)
The strength of the laborers was no doubt failing them but Nehemiah pointed them to the source of their strength. They were putting their focus around them and Nehemiah told them to return their focus to God.
Is your strength failing? Are you enemies past mockery and are now plotting your demise? If this is you do not cast your eyes about you but above you. Look to the One who rescued you from the destruction of sin. The very power that raised Him from the dead and saved you from Hell is today available to you.
Perhaps you look up and do not see the One, Jesus Christ, the only One who can save you from your sins and give you the strength you need to live the abundant life Jesus promised. Now mind you, you cannot use Jesus as a â€œget out of jailâ€ card. You must surrender your life and become a disciple of His, which means you agree to give up yourself and become of follower of Jesus. It means He not only becomes your Savior but He also and more importantly becomes your Lord. Wonâ€™t you do that today?
Beloved, I pray this study is blessing you; I know it is me. If you think Nehemiah solved all his problems at the end of chapter 4, you will definitely need to return on Monday to see how he dealt with the scoundrels among the Jewish brethren. You wonâ€™t want to miss it!
Have a blessed week and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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