Do you feel like God has placed something on your heart but it seems too hard, too big for you. Do you feel like everything around you seems to be going against it, that not a day goes by without the enemy filling your head with doubt and fear, and even discouragement from the people around you? The prophet Nehemiah can relate.
The book of Nehemiah records the history of the exiled Israelite’s third return to Jerusalem. They were being led by Nehemiah, who had a high position in the Persian government. Though he had wealth and comfort, it troubled him that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down (1:3). He would sit and mourn, fast and pray at the thought of Jerusalem, God’s holy city, standing without a defense (1:4). Nehemiah knew that it was the Lord who had put this on his heart (2:12). After arriving to Jerusalem and examining its walls, he shared his vision with the leaders. They were inspired by him and started building. However, right from the beginning people started ridiculing them, making them doubt that this could ever happen (2:19). But they continued to divide the work between themselves and worked with all their heart (4:6).
As their enemies saw more of the rebuilding being done, they plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it (4:8). Time after time the Israelites faced opposition from the nations around them who kept sending Nehemiah the same threats over and over but each time he would give them the same answer (6:4). The same way we shouldn’t expect the enemy we are fighting against to give up after one or two attempts.
But even with the constant attacks, the people of Israel kept on praying and seeking God while posting guards day and night to meet these threats (4:9). They continued to work, making sure that they were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor (4:16). They all worked as one and though they knew that God would fight for them (4:20), Nehemiah writes in chapter 4 in verse 23 that “Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.”
Not only that but he faced deception from within (6:12) and trouble among some of the Israelites and had to instruct them on how to act like God’s people not like the nations surrounding them (5:6-9). And during times when doubt and fear filled their minds, Nehemiah would set his eyes on God and remind the people of the LORD that they worship the one “who is great and awesome” who will “fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (4:14).
After all the opposition from the enemies surrounding them and even conflict from within, a time came when they were able to stand back and see a completed wall standing high. Immediately after that Nehemiah states in chapter 6 verse 16 one of the most profound words in the book writing that “When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
Many people said that it could not be done but with God’s men and women joined together, the vision that Nehemiah saw through his desperate tears in Persia became a reality with the God of heaven helping them each step of the way.
One thing that the people of this church have been longing for is Revival. Just like the building of that wall it seems sometimes like it’s just something to be envisioned and dreamed of. But I’m writing this praying that it might stir and encourage this church body that though this might seem too big and we might feel too small and weak we can look to the one that said nothing is impossible. We know that it’s God that has brought us together and put this desire in our hearts so remain standing even when you feel like opposition is coming from every side. We have a mighty God who is able to work through every opposition. Do not give up because when it is accomplished, everybody will know that it was not out of our own might or strength but only because the Spirit of the Lord brought it to completion (Zachariah 4:6).
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9
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