A Mind to Work

Nehemiah 4:1-6 says, “1But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. 2And he 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? 3Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. 4Hear, 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: 5And 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. 6So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.”

After Nehemiah assigned the jobs and task that each group of people had in building the sheep gate and walls, the fish gate and walls, the old gate and walls, the valley gate and walls, the dug gate and walls, the foundation gate and walls, the prison gate and walls, the water gate and walls, the horse gate and walls, the east gate and walls, and the Miphkad gate and walls, more opposition would come once again. Sanballat and Tobiah accused these people of being weak and feeble out of anger and fear, even stating that a fox could go up their wall and tear it down. Nonetheless, God still revived the stones out of the rubbish! They were encouraged, and they overcame through prayer and hard work! Their prayer was that they would reap what they sowed, they would become prey in the land of captivity, and their sins would never be forgiven. This should be the attitude we take against Satan himself, and if we are unified and have a mind to work, God will bless and we will be successful! He longs to revive the stones, which are our praise because we refuse to let a rock cry out in our place. I would never want a rock to cry out in my place!

It is time to rise up and build. God is not coming back for a lazy church, but one that is laboring for His kingdom. It is more than just having faith that revival will happen or even declaring for a release of revival, but it is about working to make it happen. We must show our faith by our works (James 2:18). Without works, our faith means nothing. St. Augustine said, “Pray as though everything depends on God. Work as though everything depends on you.” It is time work!

Since their words did not phase the Jewish people, they got all of Israel’s enemies together to fight against them. They were preparing for war! However, God’s people overcame because they continually prayed to God and watched for any oncoming attacks. God’s people did not back down because of threats. Half of the people worked, while the other half watched with swords and spears (4:16-17). They worked with one hand and carried weapons in the other. It indicates that God had taught how to make their hands to war (Psalm 144:1). That is what we need if we want to build a wall around this city! Our congregation must work in evangelism and war in fervent prayer in order to watch for moments when division tries to arise. Ephesians 6:18 says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”. The only way to have and maintain true revival is to have watchmen on the walls, praying and fasting against every attack of the enemy and operating in a realm of discernment in which no evil can overcome.

The next opposition Nehemiah faced was famine. There was such an intense famine that the Jewish people were mortgaging off possessions for corn and food. They were even being sold into slavery in order to pay off debts, and when this came to Nehemiah, he rebuked the nobles and rulers among the Jews. They were not meant to be their own enemies, but they were to walk in love and forgiveness. By captivating each other, they demonstrated a lack of fear of God, bringing a reproach to God and causing others to not be convicted to reverence God. As a result, Nehemiah commanded for restoration to take place. The response of the people were, “We will restore them, and will require nothing of them” (v. 12). The would go onto say, “Amen, and praise the Lord” (v. 13). They did not argue with Nehemiah, but they respected and submitted to his position of authority. *If you want to see revival, you must be able to submit to and respect authority. God can never trust with a position of authority if you cannot submit because a lack of submission indicates irresponsibility and an abuse of power if obtaining that position. Today, we are living in a famine of the Word (Amos 8:11). If we want to overcome this famine so that God can pour out His blessings and favor, we must not hold each other captive through bitterness, but we must love and forgive one another because we are all on the same team. We must live out and declare the truths of God’s Word everyday. We must not be selfish with what we have, but we must be willing to sacrifice and give of ourselves in order to be one community in the sight of God. This is not a self-centered Christianity, but a self-denial Christianity!

Afterwards, more opposition would come. Sanballat and Geshem wanted to “reason together” with Nehemiah, but you can never reason and compromise with you enemy. They even thought to blackmail Nehemiah by passing word to King Artaxerxes that Nehemiah was trying to build his own kingdom and establish himself as King of Judah as a rebellious act against this king. The only way Sanballat would be satisfied is if he would simply quit! Nehemiah exposed the lies that came from his heart, and he prayed to God to strengthen their hands. Do not let naysayers determine your relationship with God and His purpose for your life. Control yourself and your emotions. Do not type it out on Facebook and spat at the mouth over the phone to gossip queens. Control your tongue and pray. When they threatened, Nehemiah shut himself and others in the temple in prayer. Every time opposition came, it was overcome by prayer. Before going to the preacher or the doctor with your problems, go to God first because you have access to Him through Jesus Christ to come boldly to the throne of grace! His throne is still called grace. Run to it and you will find it!