The walls of Jerusalem were now completed. But even so, Nehemiah refused to let his guard down. He put two men he knew he could trust, his brother Hanani (who had told him of the troubles of Jerusalem in chapter 1) and a man named Hananiah, to watch over the defense of the city. In doing so, he told them,
The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses. (3)
The idea, of course, was that no one could attack the city when people were just getting up and were unprepared to defend the city, and to also make sure that people would be extra vigilant since they were guarding the areas near their own homes.
What Nehemiah did in staying vigilant is also important for us. We may have rebuilt our spiritual walls and be standing strong in our faith. But we can never let our guard down. Satan is always waiting for the opportunity to take us down, and he is patient. He will wait for a time when we are not so vigilant, and then he will attack. He did this with David, for example, when he fell into sin with Bathsheba.
So as Paul wrote,
If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (I Corinthians 10:12)
Let us also take the words of Peter to heart who warned,
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)