Day 72: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 72: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

In our last devotion, we noted the citizens of Jerusalem, were wilting under a huge work load.  At the time of Nehemiah a enemy army made life wearisome. But: 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).  The Jews had wilted, then Lord helped their conditions. What changed?  When enemy discovered their plans were revealed to the Jews, they reconsidered, and quit their plans to attack.

The Lord influenced the enemy, so his people could be emboldened.  The Jews outlook changed, and they got an infusion of hope, and went back to their arduous task.   There were no angels, no miracles, no solar eclipses – just the Lord doing his thing.  He works in average, normal ways, and people change their attitudes.  The enemy quit, the Jews got back to work.  Simple.  God does not often use miracles, when normal works.  He’s the God of the ‘everyday’, and he works in the simple here and now.

What does God expect?  That his people plan with redemptive thinking. 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, (4:16).  The Lord gives you executive authority to manage, remember you are made in his image: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion… (Gen. 1:26).  He gives you authority and ability to manage your life – and he wants to help you when you seek his wisdom, help, or insight.

Your Owner’s Manual is the Bible.  A believer uses it, knows the places to look to when there is a problem to be addressed.  They might get expert help to guide them.  But the Bible gives the necessary insight how to deal with the issues of life. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (Jn. 17:17).  The Word is the clear, concise unvarnished truth. Managing your life is not based on talent, wishes, goals, or whimsical hopes, but aligning yourself with God’s precepts in his Word.  My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! (Ps. 119:28).  Need help?  God’s word has the answer.

Then arose Ezra, and made the chiefs of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they would do according to this word. So they swore. (Ezr. 10:5 JPS). Allegiance to the word will never harm you in your spiritual being, it will enhance you, and make you strong. That strength leaks into the natural realm, where you are equipped to make wise choices based upon the doctrines of Scripture.

So Nehemiah and the citizens of Jerusalem got reoriented back onto their mission. Those 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. (Neh. 4:17).  The Jews adapted, reoriented their planning to match the circumstances.  And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another.  (4:18, 19).  How were they able to carry on?

In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” (Neh. 4:20).  Circumstances weren’t better – their attitude changed.  They were emboldened because the Lord worked behind the scenes in meaningful ways.  That is what they now trusted: Our God will fight for us.”  He’s actually on your side!

Read Nehemiah 4:21-23.  It ends with: each kept his weapon at his right hand. (Neh. 4:23).  This sounds like martial conditions.  For those of you who’ve experienced combat, these conditions are all too familiar.  God didn’t take you out of the conditions, he went through them with you.

A nasty internal problem emerged.  Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. (5:1).  This was not about an enemy threat, but about strife within the Jewish community.  There was economic oppression by the wealthy against the needy.  Read Nehemiah 5:1-5.  The poor were taken advantage of by the elites, so much so that people even had to turn their children into slaves: Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.” (5:5). Their fields had been confiscated and they had no economic resource.  This was price-gouging and extortion by the wealthy elites.  Well, Nehemiah has a thing or two to say.

I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. (5:6).  This was not just normal blowing one’s stack, this was volcanic explosion type of anger.  You did not want to be the target of Nehemiah’s anger.  What would he do?  Lash out and lambast?

I took counsel with myself…(5:7).  He channeled his outrage.  Paul commands: Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger… (Eph. 4:26).  Yeah anger is a command, but not the frenetic, kind of explosive outburst.  When Nehemiah says he counseled himself, it means he reasoned, to conduct a legal case.  His anger launched him into a thoughtful, considerate problem-solving mode.  It meant he advised himself.  Remember we said that a believer uses the Word of God as the Owner’s Manual.  Nehemiah searched his own conscience, fueled by God’s word to chart a plan.

I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, “You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them (Neh. 5:7).  This was a thoughtful, communal, and legal approach against the perpetrators.  His indignation brought in others, and there was a hearing.  Charges were leveled and the defendants: They were silent and could not find a word to say. (5:8).  Here’s the kicker: So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? (5:9).

Nehemiah put it all in perspective, from a Godly approach, to a human-interest approach. Here’s the principle: maximum impact for God’s work comes from maximum involvement by God’s people.  All should be motivated by the fear of God.  Rebels bring deterioration.

What’s the fear of God?  We’ll find out next time.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Often it feels like I am bombarded by antagonists, even from those who are close.  Give me insight and courage to walk the walk of faith, even when I’m bombarded by adversaries.  Give me encouragement from your word, let me find solace and comfort from these instructions you give.  Do not let me languish rather let me flourish as you give me boldness to look to you with full confidence in your care for me.  Then help me chart a course that will address the issues, where I can recognize the problems confronting me, and then have a plan that can address them.

As I do this Father, let those who watch me, learn.  Let them learn that you’re trustworthy, addressing the matter and bringing redemption from challenges.  Let me walk with integrity and faith, so others can see that this is the course that brings satisfaction to the conditions and enhances your reputation.  Let me be satisfied in you, even if I must sacrifice my conditions for your glory.  Let me not fear loss and let me expect gain.  The gain I expect, is your enhancement in the minds of people who are watching. Let them see an honorable God changing a corrupt world. I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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