Earlier this week, I was talking to a young friend you has been going through a crisis of faith over the last few years and is kind of wound tight now as she quickly approaches a season of change and instability. “I’m kind of really scared,” she confided. Assured her I had her back and, not to get all religious on her, that I believed God did to. I then shared with her what’s become my life verse since 2003:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
Her response was insightful: “I don’t know, it’s hard to just let go and let God.”
Hmmm. Is that what trusting in the LORD with all your heart is? Letting go and letting God? Wouldn’t seem so from my reading in Nehemiah this morning.
The wall around Jerusalem is being re-built. The people of God are encouraged as they do the work of God. And where that happens, opposition is inevitable.
What had started merely as mocking and jeering (2:19, 4:1-3) by those who were “displeased . . . greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel” (2:10), turned to the threat of overt physical confrontation as the enemies of Israel “plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it” (4:8).
Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . .
And so the people prayed.
But they didn’t stop there.
And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
(Nehemiah 4:9 ESV)
They prayed, and they also set up a guard. The sought the Lord, and they secured the city. The believed God would prosper the work, and they prepared for war. They had faith, and they were ready to fight.
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.”
(Nehemiah 4:14 ESV)
Do not be afraid . . . Remember the Lord . . . and fight! Very different than, “Let go and let God.”
Reminded this morning that, in the fray, while we must look to the Lord, He would also have us put on the armor and prepare to do battle (Eph. 6:11-13).
Nehemiah prayed and he set a guard. Half the people worked with the stones, and half carried the spear. Those who brought materials to the wall were loaded up so that they could carry rocks in one hand and their weapon in the other. Those who built the walls did so with their sword strapped to their side. The trumpet was ready to be blown to rally the workers to the wherever a battle might break out, but they also trusted that “our God will fight for us” (4:16-20).
We are to fight the good fight (1Tim. 6:12). In the difficulties of life, in the seasons of suffering, we are to engage as good soldiers of Christ (2Tim. 2:3-4). We do our part. Even as we acknowledge Him in all our ways.
Not that God needs us to win the battle. But He allows us to be on the front lines, while He supports us with air cover, so that we might learn to trust in Him. So that we might have opportunity to see Him fight for us. So that, when we’ve done all that we can do, we might know we are more than conquerors only because of the One who loves for us (Rom. 8:37-39).
Do not be afraid. Remember the Lord. And fight.
By His grace. For His glory.