The Walls Are Completed
JULY 25 - Nº 206 Nehemiah 4:15 – 6:14; 8:1 – 9:38; 11:1-3
Since the men rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem were facing murderous threats from their enemies, Nehemiah established some safety measures:
half the men did the labor while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, and bows to guard them;
the men responsible for transporting the materials were told to carry them with one hand and hold a weapon in the other;
all the builders had to wear swords strapped to their sides.
Then Nehemiah stationed men around the wall with trumpets. He instructed everyone, “Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there.” Together they would fight off the attackers. Soon the wall was finished—all they had left to do was complete the gates. When their enemies realized this, they panicked. They had to figure out a way to stop Nehemiah from completing the task. They decided their only hope was to kill him. But to do this, they had to get him out of the city. They sent a message asking him to meet them in a nearby village. Nehemiah, realizing they were plotting against him, informed them that he was too busy. “Why should I stop this huge project to come talk with you?” he asked. They sent the same invitation four times and Nehemiah answered the same way each time. Finally they sent a different message. It said, “People are saying that you are building the wall so that you can rebel against the Persian empire and make yourself the king. Unless you meet with us, we are going to inform King Artaxerxes about your rebellion.” Nehemiah knew they were just trying to frighten him. He bluntly replied, “You are lying!” He prayed for strength and continued to oversee the work. Realizing they couldn’t get him out of the city, his enemies paid a prophet who lived in Jerusalem to deceive Nehemiah. He told Nehemiah that his enemies were coming to kill him that night and advised him to hide in the Temple for safety. (Since they had no respect for God, they planned to kill him there.) Again, Nehemiah realized that something was wrong. He knew he shouldn’t hide in the Temple while God had such an important assignment for him to complete. So he kept working. Despite all the opposition, the wall was completed in record time—it took only 52 days! The people celebrated. They rejoiced and sang praises to God. Ezra, the priest (see #204 - Ezra, the Priest), stood before them and read the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Bible) so that everyone could hear him. Later, the Levites explained to the people exactly what the words meant. The next day they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles just as they had been instructed by Moses (see Leviticus 23:33-44). Each day they learned more about the God Who loved them. They dedicated themselves to keep His commandments. The Jews who lived in the surrounding towns decided that one out of every ten families should move into the city since it was now safe. God was doing such great things for Israel that even their enemies were amazed!
Nehemiah spent four months praying before he ever mentioned the condition of Jerusalem’s walls to the king (see #205 - Nehemiah Rebuilds the Walls of Jerusalem). With God’s help, the actual task took less than two months to complete! Nehemiah’s commitment to prayer allowed him to overcome all the obstacles he faced. Prayer is the key that unlocks God’s power! Are you experiencing His power in your life?