Walls provide protection and security, something we all want, as those in antiquity also desired. Remember the city of Jerusalem, the home of the Temple of the Lord, surrounded by a great wall. This structure helped keep its inhabitants safe and regulated the flow of foreigners while managing many points of entry or gates. In 586BC the Babylonian siege began and within a few years that wall was destroyed allowing the Temple and much of the city to be destroyed. Nehemiah records the feelings of the surviving “remnant”. (Nehemiah 1:3) “..those who survived the captivity are in great trouble and disgrace…”. Why? Because “the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”! Nehemiah being deeply moved wept, fasted and prayed God would use him to bring about great restoration. God blessed Nehemiah with all the provisions to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, “…and the good hand of God was upon him.” (2:8) Nehemiah gathered the residents of the city including the priests and nobles and said, “You see the trouble we are in, Jerusalem lies in ruins….Come let us rebuild the wall !” “So they put their hands to the good work.” (2:17-18)
Well, like any good work that is beneficial to people, there will always be critics. This day was no different. “…when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews.” (4:1) He and his collaborators threatened violence, attempted to stir up riots and “conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and cause a disturbance in it.” (4:8)) Walls provide protection and security. They help provide for the welfare of its residents. Those who seek to disturb that welfare oppose a wall as it removes their ability to corruptly rule. These detractors are so emotional, they invent lies and fake news, attempting to frighten the faithful and discourage the workers. Nehemiah called them out. “Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind”. (Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.) Nehemiah prayed again,”God, strengthen my hands.” (6:8-9)
Above is an example of how the adversary wars against those who love the Lord. We have been given a good work to complete. We have been given the resources to accomplish this task and we are never alone, the Lord is always with us. However, rivals will arise with their mocking and their treats. They will discourage the efforts and even intimidate. But let us carry on the work of God with a shovel in one hand and our sword in the other, if need be. The Kingdom of God will always prevail.
The wall around Jerusalem was completed in 52 days! (6:15) It had its desired effect upon the foreigners who would have seen Jerusalem destroyed. The wall made secure God’s holy nation and became a strong deterrent for the mockers and the spoilers. It humiliated their efforts and caused them to cease their attacks. “…when all our enemies heard of it (completed wall) and the surrounding nations saw it, they lost their confidence (dis-hearted) for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.” (6:16) Victory in God was celebrated greatly! “..on that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced because God had given them great joy…!” (12:43)
As we look beyond the wall, if we are dedicated to the work of God, even in the midst of the enemy, we too can and will “rejoice” because God will accomplish His purpose through us, which is to build His Kingdom. “Let us arise and build!!!”