Under Nehemiah, work on the walls of Jerusalem began. But it wasn’t long before the opposition started. We see this at the end of chapter 2 when the Jews’ enemies tried to accuse them of rebellion. That accusation no longer had any teeth behind it, however, with Nehemiah leading the efforts under the authority of Artaxerxes himself.
So in chapter 4, they tried to discourage the Jews by mocking them, calling them weak, and questioning their ability to rebuild their walls. But when the Jews continued to work, and had in fact built up the wall to half its height, their enemies tried stronger tactics, threatening to attack them when they least expected it.
In the face of this opposition and the size of the task, some of the Jews began to falter, saying,
The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall. (10)
So Nehemiah took action. He posted guards to protect the laborers, and even armed the laborers themselves. They also set up a system where if there was trouble, a trumpet would blow and all would rally to defend the people being attacked.
But beyond these practical things, Nehemiah also encouraged the people saying,
Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes. (14)
And with all this, the work continued on.
What can we learn from this? I think it’s important to realize that Satan’s tactics haven’t changed very much over the centuries.
And when we start to rebuild the spiritual walls of our lives, Satan will first try to discourage us. He’ll tell us we’re to weak to change.
He’ll say, “What are these feeble Christians doing? Will they restore their walls? Can they bring their marriages back to life? Can they bring back to life all the things they tore down because of their sin?”
If that fails to discourage us, he’ll start to attack, and bring trials and troubles in our lives in order to stop us.
How do we respond in the face of this opposition?
First, remember that while Satan is strong, God is stronger. He is “great and awesome” and he will help and deliver us. But we have to fight. We need to clothe ourselves with God’s armor and refuse to surrender to Satan’s attacks.
Second, remember that we have brothers and sisters to help us. Tell them your struggles. Ask them to pray for you. Let them rally around you and support you when you feel under attack. And do the same for them when they’re under attack.
Satan gets angry when we rebuild our spiritual walls. Let’s not be intimidated by him. Rather, let us rebuild our walls in God’s strength and with the support of others, and become the people God has called us to be.