Nehemiah 4 – February 16
Welcome to our studies in Ezra and Nehemiah! These books will shine the light on God being in control of our world, moving us to do His work. Join our study by following along with the reading plan then reflecting and journaling on each day’s reading to humble yourself before Him and listen. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. If you’re wondering what SOAP is…it’s a method of Bible study that focuses on applying scripture to our every days. Read more about it on our website.
Nehemiah 4 – Opposition to the Rebuilding
When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
4 Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders.
6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “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.”
15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
16 From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
21 So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” 23 Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
On Guard | Becky Newman
Nehemiah and his team were facing opposition to God’s work. The spiritual battle was raging and spilling into the real world. Paul tells us what we need to do when faced with opposition when he describes the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20 — “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13) This is exactly how Nehemiah was leading God’s people as they rebuilt the wall — doing God’s work with one hand while being ready to slay the opposition with the other. Being on guard against spiritual attack is important because the devil is sneaky, prowling around like a lion looking for easy prey to pounce on and devour. Ignoring evil in this world is what he wants; he has to do less work that way.
Being on guard against spiritual attack means: (1) praying continually — “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18); and (2) from verse 18a, be ready with the sword at your side — in the Armor of God, the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). I can be on guard against the opposition that will come by remaining steadfast in prayer and by keeping in Your Word daily.
Lord, it’s easy to be ignorant of spiritual attack because I can’t see it, but the closer in relationship You draw me, the more You reveal it to me happening all around. I want to be on guard like Nehemiah and Your people. As I go out and do Your work, help me to remain in You through prayer and daily time in Your Word. Lord, protect me, my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, and those following along in this study; protect us from evil.
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Posted on February 16, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged armor of God, Bible, Bible Study, devil, evil, God's Word, nehemiah, opposition, prayer, Satan, SOAP, spiritual attack. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.