Today’s Daily Bible Reading is from Nehemiah 4:1-23. Those who were building the city wall of Jerusalem experienced opposition. Sanballat and Tobiah had been against the building of the wall ever since they heard about it. Their allegiance was to the Persian king. Now they were mocking the Jews and making fun of the work they were doing to rebuild the wall.
In Nehemiah 4:4-5 Nehemiah prays to God and tells Him what is going on and asks Him to turn the enemy’s reproach away and not to forgive their sin, because they had caused trouble for the builders of the wall. Nehemiah relied on God to help him fight this battle. Even though there was opposition, they continued to build the wall; God gave them the dedication and determination to complete the project.
When the wall was halfway completed Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the work continued, and they became angry. They united to fight against Jerusalem in order to try to stop the Jews from building the wall.
Not only was there opposition from without, but there was opposition from within as well. The people were growing tired. They had done a lot of work, and there was still a lot of work to do.
They had to take half of the men and give them swords, spears, and bows to protect them while the other half worked. Can you imagine having to protect the work of the LORD with swords? Nehemiah didn’t let the opposition discourage them from doing the work. He reminded the people that the LORD was on their side. They had to protect themselves, but they continued to do the work the LORD called them to do.
The builders worked with their swords on their side, so they would always have a way of protecting themselves if they needed to. Even though they prayed and asked God to protect them, they still did their part to protect themselves and the work they were called to do. They were ready at a moment’s notice, if they heard the trumpet sound to go to battle. They took turns guarding and working and didn’t even take their clothes off except to wash them. Would you go to this extent to protect the work of the LORD that He has called you to do?
It takes a lot of faith to continue when the enemy is using every tactic he can to try to discourage you. You have to keep trusting God and remembering His promises to provide and protect you so you can keep your faith strong and not give up when the battle gets tough. Keep listening for the trumpet call. Hebrews 10:38-39 says, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
Daily Bible Reading:
1 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.
2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?
3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.
4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:
5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.
6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
7 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, [and] that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,
8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
12 And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.
13 Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
15 And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.
16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
18 For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.
19 And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.
20 In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.
21 So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.
22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day.
23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, [saving that] every one put them off for washing.
Things to think about:
- What would you think it might be like if you had to protect yourself with swords in order to get the work done God called you to do?
- Why is it that the enemy will try every tactic he can to keep the work of the LORD from going forward?
- How far are you willing to go to protect the work of the LORD?
Prayer of the Day:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You that in this Scripture in the book of Nehemiah we see that the people were determined to finish the work You called them to do in spite of the opposition they faced. Help us to have this kind of determination, that we won’t let anyone stop us from serving You. Protect us against those who would try to keep us from doing what You have called us to do. Give us the courage, strength and faith we need to finish the job. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
This is an excerpt from:
by Deborah H. Bateman
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About the Book:
The Book of Nehemiah: A Story of Dedication and Determination is a Daily Bible Reading Study of the book of Nehemiah by Deborah H. Bateman. The book of Nehemiah is found in the Old Testament of the Bible. Nehemiah was led by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah was a great leader. He headed up the project. Despite the opposition that the Jewish people encountered they were able to complete this major project in less than sixty days. Their dedication and determination shines through in every aspect of the project.
The Book of Nehemiah: A Story of Dedication and Determination contains eighteen Daily Bible Reading Lessons. Each lesson contains a brief commentary by the author, the Daily Bible Reading Scripture, a few questions for contemplation or discussion and a prayer for the day. This is a great Bible study that can be used for either a personal Daily Bible Reading Study or for a group Bible study.
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Have a blessed day,
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