But we PRAYED to our God and POSTED A GUARD day and night to meet this threat (Nehemiah 4:9).
The context was the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Under great threat from murderous neighbors, Nehemiah mobilized God’s people in two individually necessary and mutually indispensable ways.
(1) He had them pray – dependence on God.
Constant recognition of our dependence on God is the first step towards finding the purpose of our lives and calling. But it is not just the recognition; it has to be accompanied by intentional acts that place our whole beings before Him – body, soul, mind, spirit and strength – on a consistent basis. Prayer, meditation, turning God’s Word over and over in our minds, speaking to God about our problems, thoughts, desires, joys and pains as though He is with us and He can hear us. Because He is and He can!
As a caring brother and a fellow struggler, let me ask you this question as gently as I can. How are you doing in this area? How is your prayer life, if you were to be honest before God? I have had to ask for forgiveness as I type this while reflecting on the verse above.
(2) He equipped them to carry on with the task at hand – they did their part.
Doing my part. This is not easy either. Doing my part doesn’t mean doing just what I enjoy doing or what I feel like doing. Thank God many times it involves exactly that. In Nehemiah’s context, it included rebuilding walls and building structures. That is very hard work, as anyone who has been involved in construction will tell you. I have done it. I even drove a nail through my left hand with a nail gun once. I did the work because it had to be done, not because I looked forward to it or even enjoyed it. There is a reward at the end as you see the finished product. There is some positive pride and satisfaction that are evidently there when you can look at a house and say, “I helped build that!” But the process can be painful, sometimes literally!
Again, I have a question for myself, and since you’re reading this, for you as well. What sacrifices are you making now that will make it possible for you to admire the finished product at the end? Are you taking the pains to do what it takes, for example, to learn God’s Word for your own sake and for the sake of those around you? No, it is not just what it takes; sometimes it is whatever it takes. What are you building for the Lord?
We prayed and posted guard day and night. Elsewhere, God’s Word gives us this promise, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him” (2 chronicles 16:9). And with Fanny Crosby (1868), I offer this plea to God:
Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
By John Njoroge