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Friday, May 1, 2020

A Combination that is Difficult to Beat

By Jim Faughn

    One of my favorite books in the Old Testament is the book of Nehemiah. It, of course, provides the reader with details concerning the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. From an historical perspective, that makes it interesting. However, that is not the only thing that intrigues me about this book. There are a number of lessons that are still useful for us today. Without going into detail, I would suggest, for example, that present-day leaders could learn a great deal from the qualities, personality, strategies, etc. of Nehemiah himself. We can also learn a lot from the people who “…had a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6). A recent reading (again) of Nehemiah reminded me of one possibly overlooked verse.  It would be helpful for God’s people today to read and consider it.
    The context of the verse has to do with the opposition and ridicule on the part of those who were enemies of the people of God and their project. In the words of Nehemiah 4:8, “And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.” Please notice carefully the response to that: “And we prayed to God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night” (Neh. 4:9) 
    There are three very important components in that verse. 

  • Prayer (they prayed to God)
  • Action (they set a guard)
  • Persistence (the guard was in place day and night --- It could be said that they “never let down their guard.”)
They did not depend upon any one of these three by itself. They did not just pray. They did not just take action. They did not just persist in building the walls without taking defensive measures. They persisted in that as well. It should go without saying that God’s people are under increasing attacks today. The number of people who are opposed to us and to what we are trying to accomplish for Him is seemingly growing daily. It is not now, nor has it ever been, the time to “throw in the towel” and give up. Neither is it the time to do only one of the things that the people of Nehemiah’s day did. It is now, and it always has been, the time to pray, act, and persist. Great things can still be done! 

- Jim Faughn, a retired preacher, serves as an elder for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org

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