“The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” -Nehemiah 4:20
Ever wonder how to balance having faith in God and working with our hands? This chapter of Nehemiah answers that for me. Nehemiah was a royal cup-bearer at the palace of Shushan, serving king Artaxerxes of the Persian empire in the post-exilic era in Jewish history. During the reign of the Persian empire, three groups of Jewish people were able to return. The first in 536 BC under the leadership of Zerubbabel, second group in 458 BC under Ezra, and finally the third group in 445 BC under Nehemiah. Three things that were integral to their identity as God’s people were restored: the Law, the temple, and the wall of Jerusalem. The book of Nehemiah records the account of the rebuilding of the wall.
Though Nehemiah got the favor of the king to return, not everything is smooth sailing. Chapter 2 records the opposition of Sanballat and his companions. Nehemiah’s response was to first pray to God AND find a strategy to work around the opposition. He assigned people to be on guard, “stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.” (4:13) He even had a man who would sound the trumpet at the event of an attack beside him. “In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there,” said Nehemiah, “Our God will fight for us.” (4:20) In other words, do everything we can, but God will fight for us.
At the end of the day, our confidence is found in the Lord our God, our Father, and our Savior.