“Then I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people: ‘The work is enormous and spread out, and we are separated far from one another along the wall. Whenever you hear the trumpet sound, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us!’ So we continued the work, while half of the men were holding spears from daybreak until the stars came out.” (Nehemiah 4:19-21)
The monumental task of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem dominated the daily life of the returned exiles after Nehemiah arrived on the scene. The work was back-breaking. The locals harassed and attacked to try to stop it from happening. At the risk of life and limb they continued the work. So, what’s the big deal with this wall? After all, it was just a wall wasn’t it?
The Jerusalem wall represented safety and life on the surface, but its meaning went far deeper for the people. It approached the spiritual and existential level where it represented the protection of the Almighty. Rebuilding the wall was a God-given task, a mission, and Nehemiah led the effort with strong determination in order to realize God’s protection from the enemy.
One of the applications we might see from this experience relates to what some call “spiritual warfare.” We can decipher several principles from the experience of the exiles in this regard: 1) all participate, 2) all share in the task, 3) we work where needed, 4) we trust God, and 5) we stay alert. In the spiritual battles we go through, may we all trust God, staying alert, to participate in the shared task of gospel advance, serving where needed.
Lord, Thank You for including us in Your plans for advancing the gospel. Amen.