05/24/16 Praying and Fighting

READING: Nehemiah 4-6 

All through our Bible reading this year, we’ve learned that God is the One who fights the battles for us. In today’s reading, though, we are reminded that God still expects us to do our part as well. Yesterday, we saw the prayerful heart of Nehemiah — God’s leader who covered everything in prayer. Today’s chapters resound again with his praying at least five times, often for God to glorify Himself by dealing with the enemies of God’s people.

To the people, Nehemiah said, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome . . .” (Neh 4:14). But, that verse doesn’t end there. The people were to remember the Lord, but they were also to “fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Neh 4:14b). God would fight for them (Neh 4:20), yet half of the people were equipped with weapons (Neh 4:16). Indeed, “those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in their other” (Neh 4:17). Still, when the people completed the wall, “they realized that this work had been done with the help of [their] God” (Neh 6:16). 

You see, God does require us to put on the armor, even though the armor itself is only His armor (Eph 6:11). He responds to our prayers, but we must pray. He blesses our obedience, but we must choose to be obedient. He saves people through the sharing of the gospel, but we must be the vessels of that proclamation. He spreads His glory through God-centered homes, but we men must love our wives as Christ loves the church (Eph 5:25). Victory in the battles of spiritual warfare are not won by our fighting the fight in our own power, but nor are they won by our doing nothing. We win by doing whatever God asks us to do, regardless of the cost. Absolute obedience undergirded by and facilitated by prayer is the secret to daily victory.  

And, our only option when victory comes is to praise the One who makes any victory possible. Regardless of what efforts we make, He is still the warrior.  

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Evaluate whether God is asking you to do something you’ve been unwilling to do. If so, fight for obedience today.     
  • Whatever victory you secure today, praise the Lord for it.       

PRAYER: Lord, as Nehemiah prayed, ‘Remember me with favor, my God, and strengthen my hands today.’”   

TOMORROW’S READING:  Nehemiah 7-8