Nehemiah encouraged the people not to be afraid

The temple was completed in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius, Ezra 6:15, while it was only in the 20th year of the reign of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah 2:1, did Nehemiah receive news from his relative and some men of Judah that his people, the Jews, were experiencing considerable adversity and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem was breached, and its gates were burned down, Nehemiah 1:2,3! Thus, it must be noticed that for a gap of so many years this work lay unfinished!

On hearing this news Nehemiah was filled with deep grief and this led him to mourn, fast and repent of his sins and that of his family and Jewish community as well, vs 4-10.

He did this before venturing to speak to the king and asked God to grant him favour and success before the king, with regard to the plan that God put in his heart when he prayed, vs 11. God answered his prayer and the king gave him permission to go, as well as the letters he had requested for, together with officers of the army and horsemen to accompany him, Nehemiah 2: 1-9.

In the night-time, without letting anyone know, he took a few men with him to inspect the extent of the damages done, and subsequently encouraged the people to begin the work zealously, inspite of the opposition and negativity they faced from Tobiah and Sanballat, vs 10-20. Each one worked wholeheartedly and helped in building a section of the wall, Nehemiah 3, except for certain town leaders would not assist with the work of their master, vs 5! Simultaneously, Tobiah and Sanballat continued to deride and threaten them, Nehemiah 4:1-4, nevertheless, Nehemiah cried out to God and stationed a guard for protection, and the people continued working enthusiastically, vs 5-11. On being warned repeatedly about all the schemes they were plotting against them, vs 12, Nehemiah encouraged the people not to be afraid and equipped them with weapons while they worked, as well as a trumpeter near him to sound the alarm if and when needed, vs 13-21!

So, It was a burden in Nehemiah’s heart, (on hearing the condition of God’s Nation), coupled with mourning, fasting, and repentance prayers that triggered out a great work for God, after a long haitus of nearly 13 years!

Opposition was overcome by continuing in faith in God, coupled with the weapons of prayer and praise!

Just imagine the difference that one man like Nehemiah made to influence God’s people in the right direction! May we hear the voice of God speaking to us today through his example, and seek to do all we can, and while we can, and in the way we can just as he did! Then assuredly, our God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, will do for us what he did for them and we shall be spectators of His glorious work in our generation too! Amen.

Rowena Thomas
Mumbai, India.