External threats to Nehemiah

As Nehemiah began construction of the walls of Jerusalem, he faced slander, threats, and terrorist plots. Even in the face of these external threats, Nehemiah responded with prayer and wisdom.

One enemy of the Jews, Sanballat, said, “’What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are'” (Nehemiah 4:2-3)? In reaction to this slander, Nehemiah simply continued his work of rebuilding. Proverbs 25:28 says, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” Likewise, Proverbs 29:8 says, “Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.”

Nehemiah also turned to God to protect them. Nehemiah prayed, “‘Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders'” (Nehemiah 4:4-5). The wisdom to turn to God for protection is seen in Proverbs 20:22 which says, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.”

As the work continued on rbuilding the walls, the opponents of the Jews plotted to attack them. Nehemiah 4:7-8 says, “But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.”

In response to the threats and attacks, Nehemiah posted a guard day and night to meet the threat. The Jews also prayed for God’s protection. Proverbs 21:31 says, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.” Even in the face of verbal assault and physical attacks, Nehemiah exercised wisdom and courage. And the wall continued to be built.

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