When you are doing the Lord’s work and facing many trials and fierce opposition, we can turn to Nehemiah for great encouragement. We have already seen how Sanballat and his gang were constantly harassing Nehemiah and the Israelites and the more Nehemiah overcame the opposition, the greater it became. Eventually the devil’s minions will become furious to the point of plotting God’s servant’s death. But as you persevere and the work eventually is finished, even your enemies will see how futile their opposition was and it will frighten them:
“So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.” (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
It is amazing that this work was accomplished in only 52 days. Now this wall was returned to a defensible state, much work was left to be done. It is important to remember that the walls and gates remained devastated for nearly 150 years. The great early church historian Josephus wrote the complete restoration of the wall took two years and four months and was not dedicated until then (as we will see later). How is it that this amazing feat was accomplished so swiftly? Of course the great leadership of Nehemiah spurred the people along which resulted in what Jamieson, Fausset and Brown describe as such:
“So rapid execution, even supporting some parts of the old wall standing, cannot be sufficiently accounted for, except by the consideration that the builders labored with the ardor of religious zeal, as men employed in the work of God.”
As employed in the work of God, so much that all knew that this work was done by Almighty God. Even so those without and within your circle will still plot against you. We can never reach a permanent resting point while in the employment of the Lord Jesus Christ, even so with those who help repair the wall.
“Also in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. For many in Judah were pledged to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. Also they reported his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.” (Nehemiah 6:17-19)
Were the cohorts of Tobiah successful? Only in steeling Nehemiah’s resolve. A lesser leader may have rested on his laurels, looking at the accomplishment as sufficient and then set about restoring the wall to its original state. Nehemiah knew that they had reached the state of a defendable position but they were far from safe.
“Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many. And I said to them, ‘Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.’” (Nehemiah 7:1-3)
Scripture does not directly say so but it definitely alludes to a situation in and around Jerusalem that remained very dangerous. No doubt as Sanballat and his gang plotted their next move, imagining the Israelites letting down their guard, that when they saw Nehemiah’s prudent actions that this too made them disheartened knowing in their hearts that this work too was done by Almighty God.
Are you facing a difficult time right now in your life as you valiantly strive for God? Please know that you can not only strive, but you can also thrive while in the employ of the Lord Jesus Christ. We do this by doing everything as unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Are you becoming weary in your work? Are your enemies closing in on you; is the task so daunting as to discourage or frighten you? Now is the time to look to our great example of Nehemiah’s leadership. What did he do when facing these emotions? He prayed because he knew of Whom he served. When we pray we invoke the presence, power, and perfection of God. Oswald Chambers put it this way:
“Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.”
Is that your habit? What is the initial action of your first waking moment? Is every thing you do stamped with the presence of God?
Why not go to Him now and lay all your burdens at His nail-scarred feet?
He is waiting for you…He is right where you left Him.
Go to Him now…
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