Today we continue in Nehemiah (chapters 4-6). As the wall takes shape, Israel’s enemies grow more and more angry that they dare to rebuild. They set out to keep the people from succeeding.
At this point, we know that Israel had no intention of revolting against their rulers, nor of conquering any more surrounding lands. They simply wanted to rebuild their beloved city of Jerusalem. But the enemy doesn’t really care what our intentions are. If we are doing a work that God has called us to do, our enemy will be against it. Nehemiah’s enemies had names: Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem. Our enemy also has a name: Satan.
As we read the details of how Nehemiah’s enemies tried to prevent the wall from being built, we can recognize the same tactics our enemy uses to keep us from accomplishing whatever it is God has assigned us to do for His kingdom. Frustration. Discouragement. Mocking. False accusations. Fear. Threats. Intimidation. Even using people close to us to plot harm and cause us to sin and fail.
How did Nehemiah handle these attacks? What was his strategy? I see six specific things that we can apply practically in our own lives.
* He prayed for God’s protection (it is always, essentially, a spiritual battle).
* He called for the people to work with all their hearts (we need tenacity and commitment).
* He reminded the people of their purpose, which inspired them to fight if necessary (to protect their families and provide a godly heritage).
* He created a support system of teamwork and unity (some stood guard while others built).
* He spoke up boldly against the enemy, calling them out on their lies (stood firm on the truth).
* He addressed sin issues within the people (accountability).
What is your “kingdom work?” Whether your section of the wall is being a stay-at-home mom with your little ones, juggling a job and parenting, developing a career or business, serving in full-time ministry, or using your retirement years for the kingdom, if you are focused on living out the gospel and sharing it wherever God has you to advance the kingdom of Christ, you will face enemy attacks. At times, you will be discouraged, frustrated and mocked. You will fear that you’re doing it all wrong. You’ll be mocked for your stand on biblical principles. You’ll be intimated to follow the culture.
Put Nehemiah’s strategy to practical use and determine to do it anyway. In the end, your enemy will give up because you didn’t. Nehemiah and the people finished the wall in 52 days because they had a mind to work and they refused to stop. They could say with confidence, “this work had been done with the help of our God.” (6:16)