206 - 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 we will fight off the attackers.” Soon the wall was finished—the only task left was to hang the doors in the gates! When the people who hated the Jews realized this, they panicked. They had to figure out a way to stop the project immediately. They decided their only hope was to kill Nehemiah. But to do this, they had to lure him outside the city. So, they sent Nehemiah an invitation to attend an important meeting in a nearby village. Nehemiah, realizing that the invitation was part of a plot, informed the messengers that he was too busy. They returned with the same invitation four different times and each time Nehemiah replied, “Why should I stop this huge project to come talk with you?” Finally, the opposition sent a more sinister message: “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. His reply was very blunt: “You are lying!” Then he prayed for strength and continued to oversee the work. Realizing they couldn’t lure him outside the city, his enemies paid a prophet who lived inside Jerusalem to deceive Nehemiah. The prophet 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 - July 23), 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 the Jewish people 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 Him and promised 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 - July 24). 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?