For the first time that I can remember, I felt led to a page number in my Bible recently, rather than a book and chapter. Page 444 in my Bible is Nehemiah 4:3-5:7. It was verses 10-23 of chapter four that I felt drawn to, possibly because the title of this section is “Opposition through Discouragement.”
When Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, much was against him. Threats, rumours, bribery, slander and more were thrown at him and the Israelites building the wall. Here in chapter four, they find discouragement because they expect their adversaries to come and overtake them while they work. Nehemiah has a solution for this and it is one I believe we should pay close attention to right now.
Nehemiah 4:17-18a “They which built on the wall, and they that bore burdens, with those that loaded, every one with one of his hands wrought in (carried on) the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so built.”
We all have work to do here. This work varies for all of us, beyond the things we are all called to do when we are saved. But how easy it is to get swept up in work – even ministry work – and forget that we have an enemy that prowls about. And how easy it can also be to become overwhelmed and discouraged by that enemy and neglect the work we ought to be doing.
The answer is not one or the other; some believers working and others fighting. The answer is in carrying the tools of work in one hand and the weapons of our warfare in the other.
They had guards and took shifts solely watching and guarding as well but what struck me was that these people were ready for work and war at the same time. Have you forgotten your work while you wage warfare? Or have you forgotten to hold your sword while you get the work done on Earth?
This is a simple concept, probably not very profound, but it meant something to me. My workload feels insurmountable sometimes and so does the state of things in the spiritual, especially right now. Now is the time to ask God what your work is meant to be, which part of the wall are you supposed to be rebuilding, and then remember your sword and keep watch while you build.