In Awe and Wonder: persevere

Some days the attacks just keep coming, its almost as if you can’t catch a break. Even the night offers no rest. And you’re growing beyond weary, thinking, “I can’t fight this battle on every side for much longer.”

Where does strength come from when you’ve exhausted every resource and it seems your enemies are rallying against you?

In the book of Nehemiah we read of a time when God’s people faced exactly this! But how did they get to that point?

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

The nation of Israel knew this to be true. During the time of the kings division and conflict grew. The result? Israel fell apart; the nation had fallen so far that it looked like they might never rise again. Not only did the kingdom divide into two nations (that were locked in constant battle) but also God’s people were defeated and taken captive. The nation of God’s people had indeed fallen.

But God had a plan. Many years had passed and when it seemed almost impossible for anyone to remember the promises and covenants of the past, God brought His word to Nehemiah.

2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 1:2-4

From this place of exile, God stirred in Nehemiah’s heart and provided the people, the support, and the opportunity to rebuild… starting with Jerusalem’s walls.

But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.

Nehemiah 4:7-8

The work wasn’t easy; there was opposition at every angle. It’s hard to complete the labor of rebuilding when you’re constantly keeping guard against imminent attacks.

But they weren’t in this battle alone.

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. 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.”

When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.

From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.

Nehemiah 4:13-18

Together the people persevered to rebuild what was in ruin. God thwarted the plans of the enemy and the work to rebuild the wall from the rubble of destruction continued.

God doesn’t give up on us either even when we are knocked down like rubble laying on the ground.

In fact, God is our protector. God is our strength. God is our ever-present help in times of trouble. We might be fighting battles on every side but He has already won the war.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

You can come to God, your refuge and find refreshment and recovery as your rest from the battles. You can come to God, your strength and be supported and held up as you rest upon Him.

The walls of Jerusalem were in complete ruin as a direct result of the unfaithfulness of God’s people. They abandoned their covenant, they pursued other gods… and everything collapsed around them. And still, God called them back, God provided for the walls to be rebuilt, and God protected them from further attack.

The awe and wonder of it all is that same God who rebuilds walls and protects His people from the onslaught of battle also cares for you, pursues you, provides for you, protects you. He hears when you call to Him from the long watches of the dark nights.

Each step of the way we see God never abandoned His children. Even in their darkest moments He was working. Christ the light is coming!

~Jillene

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