Fighting Tooth and Nail
So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. ~Nehemiah 4:6
I am thankful that the founding fathers of America were men who paid the price for this nation to be free of tyrannical rule. Men like Patrick Henry, John Hancock, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ben Franklin were filled with determination to give everything, including their lives, for freedom. You might say that these men decided to “fight tooth and nail” so this country and its people would be free. In our devotion this morning, we see an exciting example of another man and true patriots who were willing to fight tooth and nail for something they believed in. We see Nehemiah and the Jews at Jerusalem, united together for the rebuilding of the city walls. We see how an important purpose and cause rallied a once-indifferent people together to prove they would get it done.
We see the scornful RIDICULE. Nehemiah and the people had rebuilt the gates of the wall and started rebuilding the walls. Just as they started on the walls, they received strong opposition from people who did not want this wall rebuilt. “And [Sanballat] spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?” Neh. 4:2. Sanballat and his friends mocked the Jews as being feeble, fearful, faithless, and lacking in fortitude. Most of us do not react well to criticism and mockery. In fact, most of us get so discouraged that we give up before even starting. Don’t let someone’s critical estimation of you or their hurtful words keep you from doing God’s work, being honest, or serving the Lord.
We see the sorrowful REQUEST. The first thing Nehemiah did was lead the people in prayer. “Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders,” vs. 4-5. Prayer must always be the first thing, the continuous thing, and the primary thing we do in every endeavor. They gave the problem of opposition to the Lord. They acknowledged that the enemy had provoked God to anger. They removed themselves as being the target and told the Lord that they were disparaging His name and glory. When opposition comes, pray! When criticism hurts you, pray! When the project looks bigger than you, pray! When you realize you have limited resources, pray!
We see the symbiotic RESOLVE. “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work,” vs. 6. The people had faith in God and kept building. The people determined that they would keep building. The people were united in faith that God would help them. The people were united in focus to build. They got half the wall built before more threats came. They were united to fight as they built. The builders had a tool in one hand and a sword or weapon in the other. What a beautiful picture of how the church must work together in building the work of God. Have a resolve that we can move forward and accomplish much when we have faith and determination to get things done.
We see the substantial RESULT. “So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days,” Neh. 6:15. A united people, a mind to work, a courageous resolve, an undaunted faith, and undistracted focus got the wall rebuilt in record time. The project was a successful accomplishment because the people did not let their pride, preferences, and paranoias get in the way.
Let’s have faith in God and make whatever sacrifices are necessary for moving God’s work and our families forward for His glory. Fight tooth and nail because it is worth it!
Have a determined God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 26-27