Summary: They had a tool in one hand and a sword in the other. They had to multitask and keep one eye on the work and the other eye on the enemy. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
Battling and Building
Building is a battle. Just finding good weather is tough for roofers. It's too hot or too cold, it's raining or there's frost and it's too slippery. It's too steep!! Or the Pastor is too demanding!!! Add to that how difficult it is to build anything in a city like ours w/ ridiculous zoning ordinances that don't make much sense, and town leadership that's all about money instead of community.
Well we each are trying to build something of our lives, of our family. We each are trying to improve our homes. We're trying to build a church and build the kingdom of God. On top of all these challenges we each have personal struggles we are dealing with and the constant attack of our enemy Satan, who wants to destroy our lives and our life's work.
That's why I like this short passage in Nehemiah about battling and building. They had a tool in one hand and a sword in the other. They didn't have the luxury of a security force to back them up so they could focus on their work. They had to multitask and keep one eye on the work and the other eye on the enemy.
ill.--like Gideon's troops - he was instructed to lead them to a brook to drink, and choose only those who crouched in battle stance and cupped the water up to their mouths, and not those who got down and lapped it like a dog, leaving their back exposed to attack.
We need to remember there's 2 worlds, one is seen and one is unseen. Yes, we seem to just live in a physical world, but the spiritual world is just as real, and it is more powerful and eternal! I challenge you to live in light of eternity, remembering your Creator, making sure He's your Savior, and allowing Him to be your helper as you go about your work and your lives.
And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you [Neh. 4:11-12].
The enemy planned a surprise attack. "We are going to take them when they are not looking for us."
What will be Nehemiah's strategy against a surprise attack?
Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows [Neh. 4:13].
Nehemiah put every man in the position where he could defend his own family, which made him more comfortable when he was building, of course. With his family at home, some distance away from him, a builder did not know whether or not they were safe. So Nehemiah put them with their families and armed them well. And our first priority and main job on this earth is to take care of our family. But remember, we're not just talking about providing food, shelter, and necessities of life, but also providing for them spiritually. This includes loving and nurturing, but also training them, leading them to church to learn about their Creator...the one we all will face someday!
And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses [Neh. 4:14].
"Remember the Lord" was to be their motto, their rallying cry. As you may remember from history class -- in the Spanish-American War, our nation's battle cry was "Remember the Maine." The sinking of that ship motivated our response. In World War I it was "Remember the Lusitania." In World War II it was "Remember Pearl Harbor." 9/11 happened and we said, "Never Forget". It should motivate our response to Islamic Terrorism. Napoleon always reminded his soldiers of some past history to stir them up to fight.
When Paul the apostle wrote his letters to a young preacher named Timothy, he gave him a rallying cry.
8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
That is the rallying cry of believers today. "Remember the Lord" was the rallying cry for the Jews in Nehemiah's day.
And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work [Neh. 4:15].