When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever
it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!
Nehemiah left a good job as assistant to the king of Persia in order to help the Jews who were struggling. They had attempted to rebuild the walls fifteen years earlier when they had first returned to Jerusalem from exile, but had abandoned the project due to local opposition. Now they were trying again under the leadership of Nehemiah. But again there were some who were opposing them. They said “What does a bunch of poor feeble Jews think they are doing?” (v.2). So Nehemiah prays and asks God to stop those who are opposing His will (v.4). Nothing changes. In fact, the people of Judah begin to complain saying, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.” (v.10). Nehemiah stations armed guards in all the exposed areas and calls the people together. He tells them not to be afraid.
Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious,
and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!
The people went back to work, but now only half of the men were working while the other half were standing guard. The people were no longer complaining though. All the workers carried a weapon. Nehemiah had a trumpeter ready to sound the alarm should there be an attack. All the people were to rush to the sound, knowing that God would fight for them. They never had to sound the alarm because the plans of the enemy were already being frustrated. The walls were finished within fifty-two days (6:15).
Nehemiah was a man of prayer and of action. He called the people to pray and trust God to fight for them rather than focus on their fear or tiredness. It worked. Today, God is still fighting for us. But He also calls us to fight with Him. We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us and we can partner in the battle.
The Old Testament gives many examples of God fighting for His people, but the New Testament gives us instructions on how we can fight with our spiritual weapons. Last week we talked about different kinds of prayers. Prayer and trust are two important weapons that we have. Nehemiah used these weapons and encouraged the people to use them as well. But in this story and in our story, we must always remember that it is God’s power that brings the victory. We have an enemy that uses weapons as well. But not to worry because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). And no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper; and every tongue that accuses us in judgement, we can condemn. This is our heritage as servants of the Lord (Isaiah 54:17). We do not need to fear the enemy! We have a great and glorious God who calls us to partner with Him through prayer and faith.
Remember how after Nehemiah prayed to God to stop those who were opposing His will, nothing seemed to have changed. The people were still threatening them, but God gave Nehemiah strategies and they never did attack. The enemy can threaten us, but he can’t win as long as we stand firm and as long as we use the strategies God has given us. The Jews didn’t give up; instead they worked like crazy until the walls were finished. We can fight for our prodigals and never give up until they have returned. We can use the strategies God has given us. We can stand watch, use our weapons when needed, and fight for our sons, our daughters, our grandchildren, our parents, our brothers and sisters by praying like crazy!