1 But when Sanballat heard that we built the wall, he became very furious and mocked the Jews. 2 He spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the burned heaps of the rubbish? 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him and he said, What they build, if a fox goes up, he will break down their stone wall.
- These scriptures mirror God’s battle against evil in our hearts.
- When we build God’s truths in our hearts, a place for Him to dwell, the forces of evil will oppose.
- When we seek to bring others to Christ and fill them with God’s truth, evil will oppose us.
- The eternal King is on our side.
- Romans 8: 31 If God is for us who can be against
4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: turn their reproach on their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: 5 Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before you: for they have provoked you to anger before the builders.
- It is an awesome truth that we can call out to God 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- There is not a second of our lives that we cannot call out to Him.
- Any who seek Him in truth and righteousness can have their sins blotted out.
- Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
- Psalm 141:10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I completely escape.
6 So we built the wall; and the whole wall was joined together to half its height: for the people had a mind to work. 7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being built up, and that the breaches began to be stopped then they were furious, 8 and all of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem, to hinder it. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.
- We are to trust and also prepare.
- We are to be ready for the fight but God gives us the victory.
Corinthians 15:57 Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
10 And Judah said, The strength of the porters is wavering, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall. 11 And our adversaries say, They will not know, or see, until we come in the midst among them, and kill them, and stop the work. 12 And when the Jews which lived by them came, they said to us ten times, From all places where you return to us they will be on you. 13 Therefore I set in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I set the people by their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 I looked, and rose up and said to the nobles, to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Do not be afraid of them: remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
- Don’t our hearts become cluttered with much rubbish?
- Putting the families with the workers kept them safe from being taken hostage.
- It also gave great incentive for the men to be ready and fight if necessary to protect their loved ones.
- Think of the awesome genius and power that it took to create and sustain the universe and you will understand the meaning that God is great and awesome.
- Psalm. 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 9 he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
God brings the plots of evil to nothing
15 And when our enemies heard that we knew about their plot, and God had brought their counsel to nothing, we all returned to the wall, every one to his work.
- Psalm 33:10 The LORD brings the counsel of the heathen to nothing: he makes the devices of the people of no effect.
16 And from that time on, half of my servants labored in the work, and the other half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows, and the breastplates; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. 17 Those that built on the wall, and those that carried burdens took their load, every one worked with one of his hands in the work, and held a weapon with the other hand. 18 Every one of the builders, had his sword strapped by his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19 And I said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally there to us: our God will fight for us.
- 1Samuel 17:47 And all this assembly will know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s…
21 So we labored in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning until the stars appeared. 22 Likewise at the same time I said to the people, Let every one lodge inside Jerusalem with his servant, so that in the night they may be a guard to us, and work in the day. 23 So neither I, or my brothers, or my servants, or the men of the guard that followed me, none of us took off our clothes, except every one took them off for washing.
1 And there was a great outcry by the people and by their wives against their brothers, the Jews. 2 For they said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: let us get grain for them, so that we may eat, and live. 3 Some also said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, to buy grain because of the famine. 4 Also there were those that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute on our lands and vineyards. 5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children as their children: and look, we are forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are already forced into bondage: and it is not in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. 6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words. 7 My heart consulted within me and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said to them, You charge interest, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.
- The leaders were oppressing the people by charging interest.
- God had forbidden charging interest of fellow Israelites. _
- Exodus 22:25If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.
8 And I said to them, We, as much as we are able, have redeemed our brothers, the Jews that were sold to the heathen; and you sell your brothers? Will they be sold to us? Then they held their peace, and found nothing to answer. 9 I also said, What you are doing is not good: should you not walk in the fear/reverence of our God because of the reproach of the heathen, our enemies? 10 I, my brothers, and my servants, could also exact of them money and grain: Please, let us stop this usury.
- God redeemed, bought us back to Himself, at the greatest price ever paid for anything.
- Their hearts needed to be right before God because the enemies were ready to devour them. They needed God’s protection.
- 2Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him.
- 1Peter 1:18 you were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver or gold from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
11 Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them--the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil. 12 We will give it back, they said. And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say. Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised.13I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, In this way may God shake out of his house and possessions every man who does not keep this promise. So may such a man be shaken out and emptied!. At this the whole assembly said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised. 14 Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year--twelve years--neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor.15But the earlier governors--those preceding me--placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. but I did not do this, because of the fear of God.
- Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all those that do his commandments: his praise endures forever.
16 Yes, I also continued in the work of this wall, we did not buy any land: and all my servants were gathered there to work. 17 Moreover, 150 of the Jews and rulers were at my table, beside those that came to us from among the heathen that were around us. 18 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six fat sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days all sorts of wine was furnished in abundance: yet for all this I did not demand the food of the governor because the bondage was heavy on this people. 19 Think on me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
- God remembers and rewards.
- Luke 14:14 And you will be blessed; because they cannot repay you: for you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
- Matthew 19:29 And every one that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit everlasting life.
1 Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had built the wall, and that there was no break left in it; (though at that time I had not set up the doors on the gates;) 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me saying, Come, let’s meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono. They were planning to harm me.
- When you are doing a work for God, people will try to stop you.
- There are also unseen enemies that will try to stop you.
- Ephesians 6:12 we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
3 But I sent messengers to them saying, I am doing a great work; I cannot come down; why should the work stop while I leave it, and come down to you? 4 Four times they sent to me this way; and I answered them in the same manner. 5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in the same way the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; 6 In it was written, It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu said, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel: for this reason you built the wall, to be their king, according to these words. 7 And you have appointed prophets to preach about you at Jerusalem saying, There is a king in Judah: now these words will be reported to the king. Come, let’s meet. 8 Then I sent to him saying, Nothing is done as you say, you made this up out of your own heart. 9 For they all made us afraid saying, Their hands will be weakened from the work, so that it not be done. O God, strengthen my hands.
- Noble diversions for our churches and for others will fill us with self-satisfaction and pump up our pride.
- This keeps us from fulfilling the first and great command to love God with all our hearts—Matthew 22:37.
- Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah, the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabeel, who was confined at home; he said, Let’s meet together in the house of God, inside the temple, and let’s shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to kill you; yes, in the night they will come to kill you. 11 And I said, Should a man like me flee? And who is there, as I am, that would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
- Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song will I praise him.
12 And I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He was hired to frighten me, and make me act that way, and sin, that they might have something evil to report, that they might reproach me. 14 My God, think on Tobiah and Sanballat according to these works, on the prophetess Noadiah, and on the rest of the prophets that are trying to make me afraid. 15 So the wall was finished in 52 days on the 25th day of the month Elul.
- God’s command for us to ‘Fear not’ is found over 75 times in the scripture.
- We are only to fear God and fear not claiming all the promises that He has left for us.
- Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you seem to come short of it.
God does our works for us, through us
16 And when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations that were around us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was done by our God. 17 Moreover, in those days, the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. 18 For many in Judah had sworn allegiance to him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah, the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam, the son of Berechiah. 19 Also they reported his good deeds to me, and uttered my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.
- Isaiah 26:12 LORD, you will ordain peace for us: for you have done all our works in us.
- Romans 8:31 If God be for us, who can be against us?
SUMMARY: Nehemiah 4-6
- God brings the plots of evil to nothing
- He requires that His leaders walk in reverence of Him, not fleecing the sheep
- He does our works for us and through us