Day 71: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 71: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

Nehemiah was a gifted man.  The citizens of Jerusalem trusted him, and they began to rebuild their demolished city.  But you know, there’s always opposition.  Evil never takes a day off.  The work of building the city walls continued in spite of enemy threats.  Sanballat their antagonist, tried to get the citizenry to quit, and give up their mission to rebuild.  He even asked an enemy army: And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? (Neh. 4:2).  He’s challenging the Samarian army to thwart the rebuilding!

Nehemiah went to the nuclear option – prayer: Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. (4:4).  This was not a fair fight, calling on the Lord of the Universe.

So we built the wall. (Neh. 4:6).  This is kind of a ho-hum verse.  Army, smarmy!  The citizens were not intimidated!  Sanballat was blabbing up a storm, and his efforts were not working.  Talk about embarrassing!  The Jews were uncharacteristically stout!

And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. (4:6) Interesting how God worked.  He influenced: the people had a mind to work.

But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. (4:7).  This was not normal anger, it was head-exploding anger.  Enemies had garnered a growing coalition, Arabs, Ammonites, Ashdodites. They’re going to drop the insults and jeering and try a new tactic.  And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. (4:8).  Great idea. Quit threatening and go and fight. Hmm, this might end in a whimper.

Nehemiah used his same strategy: And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night. (4:9).  Remember the Creator of the Universe has quite an arsenal, even great Intel.  He can short-circuit enemy plans.  Nehemiah prayed and the citizens worked, assuming their plans of defense would be bolstered by God’s backing.  The citizens were arrayed against armed forces.  Then comes a scene change.

In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” (4:10).  Here’s the first hint that the citizens were beginning to wilt.  Understandable.  They made a good effort, even a grand effort, and they exceeded expectations…but they’re overwhelmed.

The citizens were softening, the enemy was emboldened: And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” (4:11).  The enemy was getting ready to attack.  Looks like the citizen’s endeavor will end in a whimper.

Then: At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.” (4:12). The Jews were overwhelmed.  They’re done!  The people were going to quit.  Does Nehemiah?  He is not a pessimist, he’s a doer, a problem-solver, a never-say-die, and energized by divine guidance, kind of guy.  He’s faced with citizens who are wanting to give up, and an enemy army ready to attack.

So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. (4:13).  Where the walls were lowest the citizens make an appearance of force.  Then Nehemiah preached to the people: And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials 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, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (4:14).

Don’t look at your situation – remember the LORD!  God has not forgotten you! Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Ps. 20:7). How will the Lord turn this situation around?  Will the enemy just quit?

When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. (Neh. 4:15).  How anti-climatic was that!  God didn’t send the cavalry, God frustrated enemy plans, then they gave up!  No fighting, no crisis…the enemy just quit, and the citizens went back to work.  Sweet!

Tragedy was averted by one man with mature godly wisdom, not giving in to rumor and weakness. Nehemiah just told the people to remember GOD!  Then God showed up!  You might think that is would be a lousy Hollywood movie, and you’d be right.  No flashy battles, no super-heroes killing dozens of enemy troops, no yelling and screaming.  Just simple ‘give-up-itis’ by a threatening enemy.  In Vietnam I preferred the latter.

Listen, the Lord often works behind the scenes, without splashy results. He works on your behalf even before threats manifest, or crisis appear.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me (Ps. 23:4).  There was just a ‘shadow of death’, yet the Lord does not tell us to walk the valley alone.  He’ll be with us.

Nehemiah also challenged the citizens to fight, for a greater good. Fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” (4:14).  There was more at stake than their own well-being. That should always be a believer’s mindset.  Your spouse, your family, your neighbors should be as valuable as your life.  It is a fair exchange – your life for their welfare.  It is a noble exchange, a worthwhile exchange.  As a believer even if you die, you gain heavenly glory.  The survivors will also appreciate your sacrifice

Here is the principle: Jesus notes that a believer’s sacrifice done for others is actually a gift to him! And the King [Jesus] will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matt. 25:40).  Any sacrifice will be honored by the Lord, it is never in vain.  Put yourself in front, bravely accepting danger so others need not.  It is a sacrifice that is worthy of heavenly reward and valued by your Savior.

Well the enemies of the Jews gave up.  But another problem rises. A nasty internal problem.  We’re going to discover a spiritual principle: maximum impact for God’s work comes from maximum involvement by God’s people.  If this fails, people languish.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Life bombards us with competing priorities, help us to prioritize your Word. Acquaint us further with your character, and your will.  Give us understanding, so we can stand with our feet planted on solid ground.  Let that happen by the power of your Word.  Let it be our nourishment, let it be our teacher, our hope, our desire.  Let nothing supersede its value in our life.  Help us to stand on the truth: I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10).  Our life is enhanced and fortified by your Word. 

Father, don’t let me coast in life.  Keep me challenged Lord, give me hard won victories, so I am strengthened in my faith. Let these victories embolden me, yearning for more, because you will receive more glory by them.  Let my fervency and dedication, give others the desire to do the same for you.  Let them want to make much of you through their choices.  Let them match your love by their faith.  Let them yearn for your encouragement because they want to see you glorified.  Give them wholesome courage that manifests redemptive behaviors so others can be encouraged to similar endeavors.  We yearn for this because we want your reputation to be enhanced to all the world.  We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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