January 29, 2020
10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
In verse 6 of this chapter, you can read that the people have been working with all their hearts, and the wall is built to half it’s finished height. Unsurprisingly, we also read that the people in Judah are getting tired. “The strength of the laborers is giving out”. In their fatigue, they are getting discouraged. “There’s so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” Their enemies continue to threaten them.
Have you ever been working on something important, making great progress, and then you hit a point where it just seems like you can’t go any further? How do you push through to get back on track? Nehemiah’s reminder to everyone gives us a strategy to try. Primarily, he asks them to take a step back from the details of their task – the rubble in front of them, the personal danger they face, and take a broader perspective.
Remember the Lord. Fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes. In other words, focus on the why, not merely the what. If you know what you have to do, but you are discouraged, Nehemiah tells us to look at the bigger picture. We are a part of a community. We are part of the story God is writing across time and space. In the bright light of that perspective, difficulties and discouragement grow dimmer. If you are struggling today, pray that God will help you see things from a new angle. Pray for clarity. And pray for the ability to see yourself in the story God is writing.