Persevering with Faith

Key Verse: “When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
—Nehemiah 6:16 New International Version

Lesson Scripture:
Nehemiah 6

WHEN NEHEMIAH presented the task to the people of Judah in Jerusalem of rebuilding the walls and gates, they responded quickly and started to rebuild. Nehemiah’s enemies at first looked at the work and held it in derision. All the tasks for the undertaking were well organized to different groups. Their assignments and work are described in Nehemiah 3.

The people ignored the derisive remarks of their enemies and prayed to God to have this reproach come down on the heads of their enemies and not to forgive their sin. Meanwhile, they kept working as the scripture says, “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof [to half the height]: for the people had a mind to work.”—Neh. 4:6

As Nehemiah’s enemies saw the work progressing, they planned other ways to disrupt it. They plotted an attack against the workers with weapons, so that by killing them the work would cease. Nehemiah met this threat by prayer and guards. “We prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (Neh. 4:9, NIV) Nehemiah stationed fighters at the weak, unfinished sections of the wall and strategically guarded such places. The work was resumed, but now half of the workers stood armed and ready to ward off an attack while the other half worked on the wall. Even the workers had weapons handy. By this means the wall was essentially completed, although doors were not set in the gates.

Nehemiah’s enemies then connived to have him come to a village on the plain of Ono for a conciliatory meeting. It is most likely that they plotted to take his life. But Nehemiah sent a message to them, “‘I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?’ Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.”—Neh. 6:3,4, NIV

Then Sanballat, his principal adversary, sent a fifth message in which he tried to make public an accusation that the wall rebuilding project of Jerusalem was being done because a revolt was planned against Persian authority; also that Nehemiah was about to become their king. Nehemiah sent an immediate disclaimer to this accusation, and he may have sent it as well to Artaxerxes, in the event Sanballat would have sent such an accusation to Persian authorities.

A final attempt was made by Sanballat and Tobiah to have Nehemiah discredited. They bribed a Jewish priest to tell Nehemiah that he should lock himself in the Temple because men were coming by night to kill him. Nehemiah did not follow this suggestion, but said, “He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.” (Neh. 6:13, NIV) This ploy failed as well, and the wall was completed. In the words of our key text all of the enemies of Israel lost their self-confidence because they realized that this project was completed with the help of God.

Likewise, any project we attempt for the Lord will be successful if we persevere in faith as did Nehemiah.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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