Nehemiah’s Work

I'm going to cover chapters 3 and 4...I had another post started, but I'm really enjoying Nehemiah.

In chapter three, we mostly have a list of who did what - mostly names I cannot pronounce (ask a dear friend about my language challenge).

At any rate, we find that there are priests and temple servants and goldsmiths and perfumers who were all working on the wall.

One thing I noticed:

the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.

Everybody pitched in, but there were a few who were "too good" to serve their Lord.

In chapter 4, we see Sanballat is up to no good again:

"...he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?" Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, "Yes, what they are building--if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!"

We see that this man didn't like what Nehemiah was doing. He chatted amongst those who agreed with him, mocked and baited. But Nehemiah didn't take the bait.

He prayed and gave it to God:

Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.

And then Nehemiah went about the Lord's work:

So we built the wall.

So what did Sanballat & friends do?

...they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.

Still, Nehemiah prayed, but this time he also took practical steps and set guards. How dedicated was Nehemiah and those who labored along side of him?

So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. I also said to the people at that time, "Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day." So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.

What about us?

When we run up against those who oppose us, how do we handle it?

Do we cave and run?  Or do we pray, take precautions and dig in to our work?

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3 thoughts on “Nehemiah’s Work

  1. For me, I am not always sure that the work I am doing is actually the Lord's - maybe it was my own silly concoction. That makes it difficult to know when to stand tough.

    The “cave and run” attitude can be an easy pill to swallow when it is called something more like “love your neighbor”. Nehemiah could have said, “our wall building is upsetting those guys, maybe we should stop”. We need to realize our work for the Lord is often done with opposition.

    However, I think the worse time to stand tough in the Lord’s work is when your fellow laborers are saying “you are upsetting your neighbors, you should stop or else you are not being loving”. We need to let Nehemiah’s do the job they were given.

    That last point is one that bugs me – I have thought about doing a post on the “cookie cutter Christian” types.

  2. I'm planning to take a break from Nehemiah (and there is some really good stuff coming up) to blog about the "upsetting your neighbors" thing.

    I used to think my favorite "minor prophet" was Amos, but I think I might be changing my mind.


  3. I just like saying Nehemiah! As for your question, I tend to sit back, relax, and listen. I wait until I hear Him lead me and then I dig in and do what I'm lead to do. This comes after many, many years of caving in and running off!

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