Many years prior to Nehemiah’s time, the Northern Kingdom had been conquered and many were taken captive to other lands. The conquering nation introduced prisoners from other lands, which led to intermarriage with the few Israelites. This blending of the races produced the people known as the Samaritans.
The Israelites that returned to Jerusalem during Ezra’s time and Nehemiah’s time did not associate with the Samaritans because they felt that the Samaritans were impure. This led to growing resentment and hatred between the people. It gets worse later during the time of Jesus (John 4:9).
The first few chapters of the Book of Nehemiah told of how Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem to begin working on the walls and gates of the city. Now we get into the part that discusses the enemies that opposed the rebuilding of the wall.
In this chapter, we learn that the enemies are giving opposition to the rebuilding of the wall. The wall was for the security of the Jewish people’s home, their city, and their temple.
Often, we may see or hear of Christians today that have quit working for the Lord when they have been ridiculed, discouraged, sabotaged, or even threatened. Unfortunately, this does happen. Christians start off on fire for the Lord, but then the devil will sneak in, and they slowly just fizzle out.
Or sometimes, there are too many bosses who want to tell others what to do but do not get involved or help and there are not enough workers. This can lead to disunity, and if there is no unity, discord among the congregation starts to set in.
What Does the Bible Say about Work?
Sanballat was the legislative head (governor) of Samaria, the area north of Judea where Jerusalem was found. Sanballat might have liked to become governor of Judea also, however, Nehemiah’s appearance ruined his arrangements. Sanballat attempted to frighten Nehemiah away or if nothing else debilitate him by derision and warnings (Nehemiah 4:2,8).
Sanballat and Tobiah are outraged that the work on the wall is going so well, and they continually criticize and make fun of the Jews. Sanballat insults and scorns them before his own brethren and the army of Samaria.
Tobiah remarks that even a fox on the wall will wreck it. Sanballat and Tobiah blatantly ridicule the Jews and try to discourage them from working on the wall. But what does Nehemiah do? He prays!
Now we hear Nehemiah’s prayer. He knew that he and his people were looked down upon and despised by the Samaritans. God and the people heard his prayer. The work continued and progress was seen. The people had set their hearts and minds on achieving the undertaking.
They did not surrender; they did not give in; they persisted. With Nehemiah’s prayer, the people saw a need. They came together with one mindset. They banded together. They did not linger into discontentment, nor did they give up.
Is All Work for the Lord?
Nehemiah continually consolidated prayer with planning. His people confided in God and simultaneously oversaw what had been given to them. Again and again, we pray without searching for the job God wants for us to have in our tasks. We show God that we are sincere when we merge our prayers with thought, readiness, and exertion.
Achieving any enormous assignment is tiring. There are consistently pressures that encourage demoralization, the assignment appears to be incomprehensible, it can never be done, or such a large number of things are neutralizing us.
The lone solution for weakness and debilitation is zeroing in on God’s motivations. Nehemiah helped the workers to remember their calling, their objective, and God’s assurance. On the off chance that we become overpowered by a task, worn out, and debilitated, we should recall God's purposes for our lives and the unique reason for the undertaking.
The workers were fanned out along the wall, so Nehemiah conceived an arrangement for a defense that would join together and secure his people. A large portion of the men worked while the other half stood as guards behind them.
Christians need to help each other similarly. As we work, we can turn out to be so scared of moving toward peril that we cannot finish anything. At the point when we pay attention to one another, we are allowed to invest our best amounts of energy, assured that others are prepared to help when required.
Christians should be joined together for shared help and protection. Try not to cut ourselves off from others yet come together so that everyone benefits. We need others as much as they need us. No one person alone is as strong as when we come together.
To additionally ease the tensions of the individuals, Nehemiah set up a correspondence framework, a communication system. The one who sounded the trumpet remained with Nehemiah, and the people realized what to do in the event that they heard it.
We have no record that the trumpet was utilized, however, just knowing it would give a warning when required was consoling. The guarantee of open, prompt correspondence assisted the people with achieving their undertaking.
Why Does Hard Work Matter?
These men worked tirelessly, from the morning to the evening, from the time the sun rose until the sunset. Undoubtedly these men were weary and tired in performing the Lord’s work. They were all to be ready as laborers and soldiers.
Just a bit of humor in the Bible, these men wore their clothes all the time until the time they bathed. Every Christian is to be both a laborer and a soldier, working and fighting. Never taking off the armor of God — standing firm and ready at all times.
1. Physical walls. Walls were built for security against an opposing force.
2. Spiritual walls. Walls for defense against the devil include prayer, the study of God’s Word, keeping His commandments, and following His guidance.
We must learn how to decline to react with exchanging affronts when we are derided for our faith or condemned for accomplishing God’s work.
Regardless of whether we face resistance and demoralization, we must decide to finish the task that God has called us to do. God has called us for service. Do not worry if the task seems difficult. Do not say, “I cannot do this.”
I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2).
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
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Chris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. Chris is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. During his service, he received numerous awards and citations. Chris holds a Doctor of Ministry, an M.B.A., and a B.S. in health administration. Chris and his wife Vicki of 24 years reside in Madison, Alabama. If you are interested in having Chris deliver God's Word at your place of worship, you can reach him here.