Nehemiah was a trusted advisor and high-ranking Persian official. He would use his professional experience and position to great advantage as he embarked upon the work of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.
After explaining the purpose of his coming to Jerusalem and pointing to God’s gracious hand upon him, when some local officials mocked and accused him, Nehemiah answered, “The God of heaven is the one who will give us success” (Neh. 2:20). God would give this success, in part, through Nehemiah’s clever and well-informed leadership. The fact that success came from the Lord did not mean Nehemiah could sit back and relax. Quite to the contrary, Nehemiah was about to commence an arduous and demanding task.
Just as in the story of the rebuilding of the temple in Ezra, opposition arose. So what did Nehemiah lead his people to do? Pray and trust God? Or arm themselves for battle? Predictably, the pragmatic believer led them to do both: “We prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night” (Neh. 4:9). God would fight for his people by assisting them in battle. He would be at work in and through his people as they worked.
We Christians sometimes seem to act as if there were a rigid wall between actively pursuing our own agenda and passively waiting for God to act. Nehemiah and company’s arduous work warns us that trusting God does not equate with sitting on our hands waiting for magical solutions for our difficulties.
Prayer: Lord, lead me. Help me know when I need to pray and when I need to act. Amen.
For Further Exploration: Read Rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:1-7:73) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.
Author: Theology of Work Project
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