Day 7—Nehemiah Builds the Wall
Nehemiah felt God calling him to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. At the time of the call he was in a completely different country working for the king, very far off from what he had in his heart to do. Yet, as only God can do, He opened all the doors and made a way for Nehemiah to step forward into this calling.
The task wasn’t easy, though. The wall was in tatters. The people of Israel were scattered. And opposition was sure to come. And indeed it did.
Men heard of what Nehemiah was trying to do and sought to come against his work. They ridiculed him, incensed anger, and planned harm. It was so bad that Nehemiah had to assign half of his men to stand guard with weapons in case his adversaries rose up. This would provide safety but, no doubt, double the time it would take to complete the wall.
When I read this story, I hear the robot from Lost in Space say, “Danger, Will Robinson.” I don’t know about you, but I may have given up. It was a daunting task, and when you add in possible danger, perhaps risking your life, an assurance of your calling must be held close to the heart.
Against all odds, Nehemiah persevered. And not only did he persevere, but the people who followed his lead did as well. Verse 6 says, “for the people worked with all their heart.” This was AFTER threats—not before. Nehemiah’s passion and determination to fulfill God’s plan was adopted by those working with him. That’s a powerful example for the weary leader.
What seemed intertwined with their endurance was an attitude of prayer. They cried out to God. In fact, they did so before they made any moves to establish guards for safety. Their first posture was one of prayer—the most important move they could make. And when they did, God moved. God responded and came to their defense.
It’s necessary to place prayer at the forefront of your struggles. It will motivate you, remind you, and keep you focused to persevere. Prayer is necessary for endurance.
Once the wall was complete, the book of Nehemiah ends with a note that surrounding nations took notice of what had happened and attributed it to God. Nehemiah’s faithfulness not only saw the task completed, but it glorified God in a way that wouldn’t have happened had he given up.
My prayer is that this 7-day journey has given you the motivation to keep going. Remember God’s promises and faithfulness. Recount men and women in the Bible who didn’t give up when the world was against them. You, too, can make it through the storm my friend.
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And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Luke 18:1-8 ESV
Day 6—The Persistent Widow
The persistent widow has often encouraged me and kept me going in my trials. I’ve remembered her determination and faithfulness when mine have wanted to fail. It’s her story that gives me hope when hope begins to diminish.
In the parable that Jesus shared, there is a widow who was seeking justice and she took her cause up with an unsympathetic judge. At first, he denied her—over and over again with no change of heart. But the widow didn’t give up. After many attempts at asking for justice, the judge finally granted her request. Why? So that she would leave him alone!
Jesus continues with the lesson that if an unjust judge would grant the request of a widow, who he cares nothing about because she was persistent, how much more will God respond to His own children when they bring their request to Him.
God is good and He is faithful. He is just and He really hears the prayers of His people. There will be times when you feel as if your prayers are falling on deaf ears, or that God might not care for you as much as another. I’ve been there and it’s hard. But you can’t give up!
The widow didn’t stop when up against an unjust judge. With this in mind, be encouraged to keep pursuing a just God for those things important to you. He certainly hears you. He may not respond exactly how and when you’d like, but He will always respond in the perfect way at the right time.