Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nehemiah 4:10-23

10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall."
11 Also our enemies said, "Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work."
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us."
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your people, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."
15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!"
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, "Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day." 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.

Questions to consider:

  • What problem(s) within the Israelites compounds the crisis of impending attack?
  • Which situation receives Nehemiah’s first attention?
  • On whom does Nehemiah focus the people’s attention? How does God directly intervene to deal with the external threats against the rebuilding?
  • What defenses do you maintain against Satan and his threats to your efforts to do God’s will?
Possibilities for prayer:

Nehemiah has great confidence in God’s ability to keep the rebuilding from falling apart. Imagine yourself in Nehemiah’s situation--it must have been incredibly intimidating and frightening to be in charge of so many people for such a large project, with the added stress of people being overworked and enemies ready to attack. But Nehemiah remains strong and faithful and calls other people into that strength and faith as well. Today, let’s think about situations that seem frustrating or intimidating within our church community. Like Nehemiah, let’s remain not only strong and faithful ourselves, but let’s call others into the same strength and faith. And let’s ask God for the wisdom and courage to do that well.