READING: Nehemiah 4-7, Acts 2:22-47
“When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.”
The Hebrews were working to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and their enemies around them began to revile them. Perhaps because they would lose influence with a revived Jerusalem in the area, the united enemies even threatened a military attack against the city; however, their first and primary strategy against Jerusalem was to mock and ridicule them. Sanballat began the taunts – “What are these pathetic Jews doing? Can they restore it by themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they ever finish it? Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?” (Neh. 4:2) – and Tobiah the Ammonite soon joined in the chorus: “Indeed, even if a fox climbed up what they are building, he would break down their stone wall!” (Neh. 4:3).
In some ways, these enemies were, in fact, right. Were the Hebrews pathetic? In some ways, yes. Could they restore the wall by themselves? No. Could they in their own power bring Jerusalem to life again? No. If they were to accomplish anything at all, they would have to do it in the power of God. Yes, the people had a “will to keep working” (Neh. 4:6), but it was God who would keep them faithful and diligent.
Thus, it’s not surprising that Nehemiah turned to God in prayer (Neh. 4:4-5), and the people prayed to Him even as they stationed themselves to defend their city (Neh. 4:9). Nehemiah challenged them not to fear the enemy, for God was with them: “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the great and awe-inspiring Lord” (Neh. 4:14). He called them to be thoroughly prepared, working hard while carrying a weapon for the potential battle, but always knowing and trusting, “Our God will fight for us!” (Neh. 4:20). Neither plots of the enemies nor discouragement of the heart kept the people from building the wall, and they completed it in 52 days. In the end, the enemy nations “realized that this task had been accomplished by our God” (Neh. 6:16). The Hebrews could not have done it on their own, but God did it through them.
We are wise today to remember what we cannot do, and trust God to do it anyway. If He is calling you to tackle an impossible task, let Him do it through you. Even your enemies will take note.
- In prayer, place at God’s feet any impossible challenge He has given you today.
- If you have no such task, take a step of faith: ask Him to give you one.
PRAYER: “Father, You alone accomplish much through us. Make me willing to step out of the way and be only a vessel for Your glory.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Nehemiah 8-9, Acts 3