“And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.” Nehemiah 4:16
As Christians we live in world that we do not call our own. Yet while we wait for the day we enter a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God, we press on, often in the face of opposition.
In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls that surrounded the city, a crucial constriction project that would ensure they lived in safety and a sign to the other nations that God would never abandon His people, that they would always dwell in the land that He gave them. The promises of God rarely come to fruition without opposition of the enemy. Almost immediately Nehemiah’s work was opposed by his enemies.
“And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, ‘”What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that? ‘”
They plotted to confuse the construction of the wall, fight against them, and drive them out. And isn’t it amazing that the first thing Nehemiah does is pray,
“Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guild, and let not their sins be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.”
He knew it wasn’t the time to give up and go home. But simply think about the impossibility of the situation. Nehemiah had to rebuild some 3 miles of wall with around 34 watch towers and seven gates with very few men. All the while they had to be prepared at moments notice to fight against any attacks that could come from any side!
Is it any question then why, “In Judah it was said, ‘”The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.'”
THERE WAS TOO MUCH RUBBLE! It was impossible. It’s easy to get caught up in the impossibility of a situation. Isn’t it great that God knew we would face this kind of opposition and isn’t it even more great that He said “After you have done everything to stand, stand firm THEN!” Ephesians 6:13. It’s that scene in every action movie when everything has failed and the main hero is on the verge of a major decision, stay down and succumb to death, or get back up and finish the fight.
“From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail…Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built.”
We’ve never been given permission let our guard down. We’ve always been called to build with one hand doing the work of Christ, while holding our sword in the other ready for an attack at a moments notice. “So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.”