Pray and Work, Despite Opposition
Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 4:1-6
1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
4 Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews. . . .
After a long period of exile and destruction from conquering armies, God’s people were allowed to rebuild the temple of the Lord and the city of Jerusalem (see 2 Chronicles 36). Nehemiah led the people in rebuilding the wall, but they faced a lot of opposition from their neighbors in Samaria.
Sanballat and other local leaders opposed Nehemiah and the people of Judah (now also called the Jews), ridiculing and scoffing at them. They threatened to fight and stir up trouble to prevent the Jews from rebuilding.
In the midst of all this, Nehemiah and the people prayed to God for help and “posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” The people were vigilant and worked hard together, and they finished the wall in just 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15)!
We can learn from this example. We can pray, “O God, please protect us from threats and dangers, and give us strength for our work each day. Help us to serve you in all that we do.” And before we go to bed at night, it’s also important to lock our doors.
We always need God’s help and protection. Our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). So we pray and work, depending on God every day.
Father God, we need your help and guidance and protection each day. When we face threats and opposition, help us to trust in you and to serve you faithfully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.