Vigilance, Opposition and Perseverance
The Book of Nehemiah is a great book of the Bible for covenant keepers. It is a study of one man’s vision of what God wanted from him and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve that vision. It is a story of starting over, recovering from failure, winning favor with those in high places, overcoming shortages, enduring ridicule and lies, defying open hostility, winning cooperation from diverse groups and completing the vision.
Nehemiah was a humble cup bearer (wine servant) to the King when he learned of the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem. He immediately spent several days in fasting and prayer regarding what had happened to Jerusalem and its walls. His prayers to God were not for retribution for those who had destroyed Jerusalem but were a confession of sins of all the people of Israel. In the first chapter of Nehemiah we find his prayer:
5 And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.
After asking God to remember what He had told Moses about scattering the people of Israel if they were unfaithful but regathering them if they would turn back to God, Nehemiah finished his prayer as follows:
11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
The story goes on to tell how Nehemiah found favor with the King who sent him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. There are elements of intrigue, opposition and deceitfulness of others in his quest to rebuild the wall. Of significance in the stand of those being vigilant for the restoration of their marriage, is the passage where it is related that the people rebuilding the wall had half the people holding weapons at the ready in case of attack, and that even the workers each had their weapon on them in such a manner that it could be immediately drawn for battle. Nehemiah 4:16-18 says:
16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, 17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. 18 And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built.
I am reminded that all covenant keepers must labor in their stand wearing the full armor of God to protect them against the demons, imps and agents of Satan, whose goal is to destroy marriages and our lives. Be vigilant and persevere!