Almighty God, You are the God of all the years, the God beyond all years, the author and source and the goal of all my living.
Read NEHEMIAH 6:1–14
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“He helps us deal with the mountain. Sometimes he takes us around or over it, and sometimes he removes it—but he always helps us put it behind us” (Lloyd John Ogilvie).
A project is most vulnerable when it is almost complete but not quite. The energy of creativity captured in strategy and negotiation may be dwindling. People are patting you on the back and as you look forward to celebrating the achievement, the devil robs you of it.
In an action-filled seven weeks, the walls around Jerusalem have been rebuilt. All that remains is to put doors on the gates. So, when an invitation comes to meet powerful neighbors who have opposed the construction, Nehemiah might have thought, “Well, we are almost done here. Perhaps a session to improve relations will be an advantage in the long run”—but he is focused on finishing what he had started. A wall without doors is useless. As second and third requests come, he stands firm: who knows the risks of a long journey in another land? Similarly, he is resolute when a menacing summons arrives alongside a letter proclaiming sinister rumors of rebellion. This was the concern that shut down the first wall-building attempt years before. The temptation to defend himself would have been strong, but Nehemiah’s hitherto indirect refusals to be provoked are much blunter this time: “You are talking fantasy” (a free translation of 8). Another potential disaster comes from a prophet, who urges him to shelter for his life in the safety of the Temple. Nehemiah realizes that this man is not from God: such an act of cowardice, in a place reserved only for priests, would be an abuse of the holy place.
The spiritual battle is unrelenting as we work for Christ. Testing and entrapment come in many guises, both blatant and subtle: discouragement and fear, intimidation and betrayal, weariness and distraction. Nehemiah is a model of constant prayer bringing vigilance and discernment.
What weak spots in the “wall” of your heart need strengthening?
Lord, what are You saying to me in the midst of the challenges I face? Strengthen my hands!