Perseverance – Dictionary.com defines perseverance as ‘steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement’. In order for us to complete and achieve anything in our lives it is important that we persevere, that we do not become discouraged or distracted, that when things get tough and sometimes out of control we do not take the easy option and just throw in the towel and give up. It would have been easy for Nehemiah to think that the task ahead was too big or to give up before even starting especially as he received a great deal of opposition and ridicule throughout; Nehemiah 2: 19-20 ‘But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it (the plan to re-build the wall), they mocked and ridiculed us. ‘What is this you are doing?’ they asked. Are you rebelling against the king I answered them by saying, ‘The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it’ and later in the book whilst the work is in progress, there is further opposition and ridicule; Nehemiah 4: 1-3 ‘When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, ‘What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?’ Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, ‘What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!’
When we are born again we become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) however, being born again does not give us entry into a new sanitised World where everything is perfect. While we are on this earth God has a plan and purpose for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), and we would not be able to do His work and save souls if we are separated from the those who need us the most. We will undoubtedly experience opposition and ridicule in parts of our life, often from the very people we are trying to save however we must persevere because we have Almighty God on our side, our God, the only God, hallelujah!; Romans 8:37 ‘No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’ and Deuteronomy 28:13 ‘The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom’. Be encouraged! Romans 8:31 ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’
Perception - is defined as; 'the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses' and 'Intuitive understanding and insight'. Nehemiah was aware of what was happening, he was aware of the opposition and the difficulties he was likely to face. He did not bury his head in the sand and try to ignore it, he dealt with it! Ignoring difficulties in our lives and burying our heads in the sand will not make our troubles go away. When we take our head out of the sand, all we are left with is a dirty head and our troubles will still be there.
Nehemiah was perceptive enough to realise that things were happening that could affect the success of the work ahead and that something needed to be done. He therefore decided to organise the workers: Nehemiah 4:13-19 ‘Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes’. When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work. From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!’
The story of the re-building of the wall of Jerusalem is a wonderful example of how anything is possible in God. Prayer, preparation, passion, perseverance and perception were crucial factors in the successful re-building of the wall. Maybe we should take a little time to look into our own situations, possible things that we are struggling with or maybe something that has not succeeded to see if we can learn any lessons from the Word of God. Psalm 20:4 ‘May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed’.
Author: Gary O’Neill
May God bless and enrich your life
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