Imagine going to work each day and trying to do your job with a weapon in your hand and an army at your back, doing everything in their power to keep you from finishing your tasks.
Their jeering voices tell you the work is fruitless, and you’ll only fail if you persist in your labor. Not only that, but you work with the knowledge that they could attack at any moment.
This is exactly what the people of Judah faced as they sought to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in the story of Nehemiah.
The Lord tasked Nehemiah with leading His people to rebuild the city walls, a task many of Judah’s enemies were loathe to see completed, work they would stop at nothing to derail.
Nehemiah’s focus, however, was not on their enemies, but on the task the Lord had put his hands to.
“And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” (Nehemiah 3:18, ESV)
With their enemies chomping at the bit, each individual worked tirelessly on his own section of the wall, completing the monumental task in a little over seven weeks.
Nevertheless, they were prepared to battle their enemies, as well, should the need arise to do so.
“And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built.” Nehemiah 4:18a
Just like the wall builders, the Lord has put us on a section of the wall and commanded each of us to work diligently to complete the work in front of us.
Also like the wall builders, though, we have an Enemy who will stop at nothing to keep us from completing our work. The enemy will jeer us, convincing us the work is fruitless. He’ll work to divide us, attacking us where he know we are weakest. He’ll come after our families, our churches, our communities, but most of all, our hearts.
But, as Nehemiah told the gathered armies, when the Lord is with us, there is nothing to fear for the equipped worker who trusts the Lord.
But we must be equipped every single day.
To be prepared, we must fight with the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, strapped to our belts.
We must fight with the people of God at our sides, together as one body. We cannot do it ourselves.
And we must stick to the task the Lord has put in front of each of us – our section of the wall, as it were. The Lord has already given you all the tools you need to build and to fight.
Work diligently each day to build and protect your family. Step up and put your hands to the walls of your community. Be ready to fight for members of the body who cannot fight for themselves.
The Lord can use you right where you are at - but you must be ready to work and to fight.
Daniel Kiewel is a reporter for the Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.