As Nehemiah starts to build the wall (please no Trump jokes/comments below, as tempting as it is) we see that opposition against the wall gains momentum and Nehemiah reminds them that they may have to fight for what God is calling them to do and he reminds them whom they are fighting for.
And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (4:14)
They’re fighting for the protection and future of their families, one of the most honorable and noble relationships one has been entrusted with. However the people couldn’t just stop the construction of the wall to be ready to fight potential enemies. This is why verses 15-23 say that they held a sword for fighting in one hand and a trowel for building in the other hand. This is probably one of the most influential passages of Scripture to me in the book of Nehemiah. The importance of balancing the God given responsibilities we’ve been given to protect/fight for certain things in our life while building other things. C.H. Spurgeon entitled his newspaper “The Sword & The Trowel” for this exact reason. He would write on certain subjects where he would fight for the inerrancy of God’s Word and Orthodox doctrine, while building on and edifying the church as a whole.
We have the same responsibility to do the same for what God has entrusted us with. We have a lot of trowel work as we build on Christ’s foundation in our lives and the marriages, families, jobs, education and ministry opportunities God gives us. A lot of life’s responsibilities is this trowel work and it’s hard. Working our jobs, paying the bills, loving our spouses, raising and disciplining our kids, being a missionary and serving the church. It’s hard work that we need to continue to build on and as we build, Satan is going to everything he can to take it away. To oppose it like Sanballat opposed Nehemiah and the wall they were building. That’s why we must do everything we can to protect what we build and fight for these things as well. We must look for the potential dangers and weaknesses in what we’re building and we must fight against it.
- What is God currently asking you to build in your life right now?
- What is God currently asking you to fight for/protect in your life right now?
We’d love to hear some of your answers in the comments below.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor