A reflection on Nehemiah 4, by Lei Wah
The call to rebuild has gone forth. The work has started and the walls were beginning to be rebuilt. But the enemy would not be silent. Opposition increased from mockery (v 1-2) to threats (v8), and finally a forceful announcement “we come into their midst and kill them” (v11). The plan of the enemy was threefold: intimidate, demoralize and defeat.
Nehemiah did not disregard the presence of the enemies. He did not discount the capacity of the enemy to obstruct and destroy both the work and the workers. Hebacknowledged that there is a fight (v14) and he took their threats seriously. Scriptures record Nehemiah’s counter-strategies in the face of opposition:
1. He was focused and he inspired faith in God through corporate prayer.
2. He equipped and positioned men to face every attack.
“Hear, O our GOD, for we are despised,”. He recognised that he wrestled not with an individual but with an army (of Samaria) and when all of them conspired together to attack and create confusion, Nehemiah’s and his men “made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set watch against them day and night.” Watching and praying was his counter-strategy against the attack.
In this season of rebuilding, are we intensifying our prayers as we anticipate attacks from our enemy, the devil? Is our prayer life status quo? Individually, we need to watch over our own life so that we have the tenacity to persevere. However, at this a season of rebuilding, we also must watch over the church corporately as a priority.
In the work of rebuilding, focus is extremely crucial. Corporate prayer is key. It is when we pray together, our faith and focus is on GOD together- not our enemies, the tasks nor ourselves. In Nehemiah 4, the vision was clear and the people had a mind to work (v 6) but that was not enough to complete the rebuilding. Their strength was failing them and there were many things internally that they had to deal with (v10). So, Nehemiah rallied a call to all to “Remember the LORD, great and awesome, and fight.” It was the LORD that empowered and enabled the people to complete the task.
Half of Nehemiah’s servants worked while half guarded. These were the delegates who had come with him at the beginning (Neh 2:9). It was important that everyone in his team of builders took responsibility to work and guard. The builders were ready to watch with the sword when the enemy attacks. Today, as we build, we too must be equipped with the sword (Word of God) and guard against our enemy with it (v 17).
Nehemiah spoke about the sound of trumpet which would unite them from their spread-out positions along the wall (v 19-20). While they were positioned at different places, there were times they would need to rally and come together, believing together “Our GOD will fight for us.”.
Rebuilding the church requires us to be willing to rally together, trusting the Lord to give us the victory when His people corporately draw on His resources in prayer