But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
When my husband told me last week to sit down and meet with him, I was thrilled. For one, I love meetings. Seeing the big picture down to every detail energizes me. And second, it’s a joy for wives when husbands take the lead. Putting us on dependent-mode make us more secure, and the submission easier too. Anyway, our talk was around financial management. Nearing our forties, we recognize the need to rethink our priorities (and principles) in areas of saving, giving, and spending. The initial brainstorming readily posed a threat to our cravings and conveniences. We’re sure it’l continue to tempt us daily. And so, aside from provision, we sought the Lord’s protection and power to resist the lure. Plus, we wrote down our action plans.
Chapter four of Nehemiah started with the name Sanballat and later joined by Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashrod. These men were Judah’s tormentors. They employed themselves fulltime with a single task: making sure Jerusalem walls stay burned and dead! First, they threw large heaps of insults to the people. The intention of calling them feeble and their work frail was to slow them down with self-doubts ‘til they succumb to defeat. Second, they literally plotted to attack their lives. I wonder how many moms considered pulling out their men with such high-risk jobs (and no pay!). Commendably, in both hits, Nehemiah united the people to respond in prayer and to continue the hardwork. No vengeful looks. No throwing back of very hard breads. But they did tighten their defenses. Not that they don’t fully expect God’s protection. It’s more of God wanting them to exercise His wisdom in plotting these precautions.
With the big battles in our lives - - financial burdens, relationship conflicts, career failures, health issues - - I’m sure like me, you wished today’s verse would just say ‘they prayed and were saved.’ But just like in 1 Peter 5:7, the soothing ‘Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you’ did not end there. It continued with ‘Be alert. Watch out. Resist the enemy. Stand firm in the faith’. Really strong words! And if we read further, just before we land on the beautiful promise of ‘He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation’, we’ll see the phrase: ‘So after you have suffered a little while...’ That ‘little’ word there was supposed to give us hope. Add to that a little faith which can move mountains! So, like Nehemiah and the people of Judah, let’s not give our enemy the pleasure of seeing us down or distracted. We prepare to defeat them by calling on God, and then the two plus-es: we continue with our work heartily and we check our faith defenses regularly. Period.