In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.” So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” 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. (Nehemiah 4:10-23 ESV)
When Nehemiah came to Jerusalem he convinced the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. But they faced many challenges which discouraged the people, so much so that they wanted to quit. “The rubble is too great!” or the word is to daunting was one challenge. Another was the plan of an opposing group that sought to plant enemies in their midst to bring down the work. When many wanted to quit, Nehemiah’s leadership kept them on task. God brought more to share the work and they committed themselves to be on guard to protect against the enemy on the one hand and build the walls on the other. They were determined to the point of keeping on guard day and night.
Tis is such a powerful likeness of building the church. It is hard and daunting work and the enemy plants doubters and discourages in our midst, people who cast doubt on the work and on the leaders. But we must remember that it is ultimately God who fights for us even as He fights through our efforts. God will thwart the plans of the enemy so that His church will be built. Let us not give up! Let us not be distracted or lose heart or let down our guard. Lord, preserve our devotion to you in this calling.