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.”
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.”
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.”
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. 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.” (Nehemiah 4:10-14)
At this point, the wall has been built up to half of its height. The excitement that was present when the work began has now faded. The days are growing longer. The muscles are growing tired and fatigue has begun to set in among the people. The focus begins to turn from “how much has been accomplished” to “how much is yet to be done”. The rubbish, construction debris, is building up and needs to be carried away to make room to work. Think about how many times you have started a project energetically then struggled to finish it.
Then comes word of the next attack from the enemy. They begin to talk of an attack with superior numbers. How can they possibly defend themselves if they don’t even know where the attack will come from. How many times have you become so distracted by what you don’t know that you can’t accomplish what you do know needs to be done? Often, our enemy doesn’t need to physically attack us to prevent us from being successful. They only need to plant enough doubt to discourage and frustrate us. As a result, we stop ourselves. We become our own worst enemy.
Nehemiah would not have this work stopped short of completion. He had set out rebuild the wall and would not accept failure as an option. There were attacks from the inside (fatigue and discouragement) and from the outside (enemy attack). So Nehemiah addresses both of the attacks.
To address the attack from the outside, Nehemiah arms the people and sets guards at the locations where they are the most vulnerable. To address the attack from the inside, Nehemiah reminds the people who they are serving. This work was begun through clear prompting and provisions from the Lord. The work at hand could never be undertaken had the hand of God not been involved. In the same way, the work cannot be completed without the hand of God being involved. The people needed to be reminded that God was with them when they began the work and God would continue to be with them as they completed the work. Their strength resided in their dependence upon God.
In what areas do you find yourself growing fatigued? Where has God called you to undertake a work that has become difficult or where you are beginning to doubt your ability to complete the work? Find your own weaknesses and set a guard against them. Then remember who you are serving. Think back to all that God has already done to bring you through the difficult situations in your life. Trust in Him to carry you through the difficult situations that lay before you in the present. God has not grown tired. Draw your strength from Him. Look forward with eagerness as He carries you through the times ahead.
I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.