Saturday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Nehemiah 4:7-23 (NKJV)
7 Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, 8 and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night. 10 Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”
11 And our adversaries said, “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.” 12 So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.”
13 Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” 15 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 16 So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.
17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. 18 Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19 Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” 21 So we labored in the work, and half of the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared. 22 At the same time I also said to the people, “Let each man and his servant stay at night in Jerusalem, that they may be our guard by night and a working party by day.” 23 So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes, except that everyone took them off for washing.
Initially the enemies of Jerusalem resorted to scorn, mockery, and disdain for Nehemiah and the people. The enemies of God’s people upgraded their weapons from words to swords. They conspired to attack Jerusalem in order to inspire confusion and dismay. Nehemiah responded in faith, praying to God for protection. He also reorganized the workers and armed them. With one hand the men worked, and with the other hand they held their weapon. Each person was to dwell within Jerusalem, as well.
Nehemiah shows us the constant vigilance the Church in all ages must possess. Corporately and individually, we must not lay aside the weapons of our warfare against the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. We are to live within the church, receiving the gifts of Christ, and finding rest for our weary souls in absolution. But we are also to “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” (Eph/ 6:17-18). The Evil Triumvirate (sin, death, and the devil) always seeks our fall and ruin. But the One with Whom we dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem, the Church, is far greater than our enemies. The Triune God will be with us in our fight and give us the victory by faith in Christ Jesus.
We pray: Lord God, grant unto us constant vigilance, so that we may fight temptation, the devil’s accusations, and the world’s influence with the Word of God and the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.