The scope of our spiritual endeavor equals the scope and intensity of the enemy’s strategies and attack; the greater the scope, the greater the intensity. In the previous chapter we saw where Nehemiah and Judah had a sinister strategy employed against them; yet they successfully resisted by continuing the work. In this chapter we observe a couple of other kinds of strategies.
The first strategy we read of is being “mocked” by Sanballat the army of the Samaritans. Would they be able to do this work since they’re “feeble”; unable to fortify themselves, offer sacrifices, can they complete the wall in a day, and the wall wouldn’t be very sturdy. Note Nehemiah’s response, goes to the Lord in prayer. The prayer is declared as an indictment against these enemies; which ought to be our response as well.
The Lord empowered them to complete the entire wall halfway. Why? The “people had a mind (heart) to work.” Wherever there’s a heart and a mind that are focused on the work of the Lord, the work will be completed; especially when the “work” is great.
Unable to coerce Judah into stopping the work through their ridicule, they established a conspiracy. Our great work, when seen as a threat, will motivate people to unite for all the wrong purposes; as we see here. Watching the enemy and continuing to do the work took its physical toll on those who were working. Part of the reason there was “so much rubbish”, they were hindered from rebuilding the wall. At the same time we see the real motive behind this conspiracy was to “kill them and cause the work to cease.” The families were positioned in such a manner that would respond to the initial response of any attack.
Nehemiah reminded them of their national family, as well as their natural family. He also reminded them they were fighting with the Lord and as a result they were encouraged to continue the work. Half of the families worked on rebuilding and the other half on protecting those who did the work. As they became aware of the plot against them, the Lord “brought their plot to nothing”.
In a further response, they worked on rebuilding with one hand and protecting with the other. In another response, the other people were asked to stay overnight in the city; for protection and being positioned for assistance to be ready to fight the enemy. They were so committed; the only time they took their clothes off was to wash them.
As leaders, when confronted with any attack of the enemy, going to the Lord in prayer is a great first response. When we do, the Lord by His Spirit will stir hearts toward the Great You are involved in.