Defending the Wall
Nehemiah had to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, terribly destroyed with heavy rubbish surrounding it, while fighting those who wanted to stop him.
Many of us are trying to build our own walls.
Our wall may not be made of brick and stone. But it still contains our blood, sweat and tears.
Our wall may be our heart’s desire, our education, our health, our work, our ministry, our family, our relationship with God and others. It may be a life long project, taking years of effort.
Then the enemy enters. We are outnumbered. We are attacked.
Things go wrong. We even get defeated.
How do we respond?
First, let us look at how Nehemiah and the workers responded.
It is not enough to work hard to build our wall.
It is also important to defend it while we build.
The commitment to build the wall
Neh 4:6 ¶ So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
The size and condition of the work –an “impossible” and large project, with many difficulties
Neh 4:10 ¶ And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and [there is] much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
Neh 4:19 ¶ And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work [is] great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.
Enter the enemy to stop the work
Neh 4:7 ¶ But it came to pass, [that] when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, [and] that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,
Neh 4:8 And conspired all of them together to come [and] to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
Neh 4:11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
Prayer and watchfulness
Neh 4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
**** Notice the enemy did not leave after the prayer. Many times, the enemy is persistent.
Encouragement – remember the Lord, and who they are fighting for
Neh 4:14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, [which is] great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
Willingness to fight while they build
Neh 4:13 ¶ Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, [and] on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
Neh 4:16 And it came to pass from that time forth, [that] the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers [were] behind all the house of Judah.
Neh 4:17 They which built on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, [every one] with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other [hand] held a weapon.
Neh 4:21 ¶ So we labored in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.
How do we build our wall, when the enemy is there to tear it down?
What do we do when we are outnumbered?
What do we do when their weapons are stronger?
What do we do when we pray, and the enemy keeps coming?
What do we do with all the rubble in our lives?
How do we clear it all away?
1. Do not just pray once. Pray constantly. Even if you have no words for your prayer, God will hear your thoughts, and read your heart. He will remember every word you did pray, when you had the strength.
2. Commit yourself to the task. If it is meant to serve and honor God, it will succeed, if you don’t quit.
3. Expect the enemy to enter. He wants you to fail. But, you do not have to cooperate with him. Do not be afraid.
4. Be prepared to fight. Have weapons in one hand, and build with the other one. Know the Word of God. Spend time in there as if it were a beautiful garden, that you want to visit. Partake of the fruits of the garden.
5. Do not give up when you lose. The loss is temporary. You will eventually win, even if it is not as you had planned it.
6. Find others who will build with you, because there are safety in numbers. Going it alone makes you a bigger target.
7. Find value in your rubbish. Much can be used again.
8. For the rubbish in your life that has no value, cover over it, and keep going.
9. Submit yourself to the process. You can only win when there is no longer any resistance to change.
10. When you have lost almost everything, you are close to victory.
11. Realize that despair and discouragement are the mortar for the wall.
12. Have a reason to fight. Think of your family, your home, and your Lord.
13. Do not go by appearances. Go by the promises in the Word of God.
14. Remember, the battle belongs to the Lord, not you. He will fight when you can’t any more.
15. Realize your building, and your fight, may last a lifetime. Not every victory will be quick. Most are hard won, with many wounds.
I want to reassure those who are battling horrible problems that there will be an end to those battles.
I cannot tell you when the battle will be over, except it might end when you no longer have any strength to go on.
Just remain faithful. God will intervene, if He sees it is necessary.
Even when my enemies rejoice over me, because they think they have destroyed me, I know my God will rise up in some way, and deal with them. This will be in His timing, not mine.
For me, it is 40 years later, and I still see battles. The fight is endless.
But, as I end each day, I find myself just wanting to crawl into bed, to rest.
My pain, both physical and spiritual, is still there. I am human, and I was made to feel this.
My mind drifts off to thoughts of heaven, and what paradise must be like.
But I am resigned to continue.
I am on the Potter’s Wheel.
I am in His hands.
My victory is not how well I fight, or whether I lose or win.
Victory is not in being faithful when all is well.
My victory is being faithful when all is wrong, and there is no visible reason to believe any more.
We walk by faith, not sight.
Do not worry.
Your blood, sweat and tears are NOT for nothing.
Your wall will be built.
The enemy cannot defeat me, because he cannot make me unfaithful to my Lord, and my God.
Same is true for you.