In this account of Nehemiah’s leadership, we have the opportunity to look into the way Nehemiah responds as he leads the people in an extremely difficult task while also being tormented and threatened by their enemies. Nehemiah understood both the significance of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and God’s providence in preparing the way. It all seemed simple enough in the accounts leading up to this one as everything was falling into place, however, as the people began to come and work with Nehemiah, the opposition arose. They faced the mockery and threats of their enemies who desired their failure. All around them as they worked, they knew the armies were forming on every side and the danger was imminent. The workers were overcome with dread, discouragement, and fear. Nehemiah had a few options in the way he could deal with the problems at hand. He chose wisely. He didn’t give in to the fear and walk away. He didn’t act irrationally and start an attack. He chose to remind his people of the greatness of their God and encouraged them to build the wall while also being prepared for defense in the face of danger. We know that when the trouble began, he first went to the Lord in prayer, and now, Nehemiah combines faith, prayer, and preparedness to stay the course of serving God. He used his God-given gifts of leadership and planning to guide the workers through this difficult and dangerous project. He was able to refocus their sights on the truth of who God is and what He had called them to do.
I don’t know what your situation is or if you are feeling burdened or light hearted. Our paths are all a little different with varying trials and celebrations. In the midst of our differences, there are a few constants that we must keep at the forefront of our focus. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His attributes don’t change. Let us remember daily, as Nehemiah reminded his people, that we serve an awesome God. A God who always keeps His promises and works for His glory and our good. A God who is sovereign, loving, and just. He has not called us to rebuild the walls as He did Nehemiah, but He does call us to spread the gospel. He calls us to love our neighbor and make disciples. These commands are steady in the midst of turbulent circumstances. So let’s respond with faith, prayer, and preparedness for this world is broken, the stakes are high, and our God is great. Let’s rejoice and carry on together for the glory of God.