But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we built the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.…
Nehemiah 4:1-23. This description of the building of the wall of Jerusalem may be taken as representing the life of the Church militant. The chief points are these: -
I. THE SPIRIT which pervades and actuates it. "The people had a mind to work." Activity, self-denial, fellowship, and fortitude.
II. THE METHOD. Division and distribution of the work. Builders, fighters, burden-bearers. Some in command, others waiting upon their word. A place for every one in which to work, and every one keeping his place, and doing his utmost in it.
III. THE DIFFICULTY. To do the work surrounded by enemies. Their mockery, their defiance, their active opposition. Every earnest labourer must be prepared to resist. There are special defenders of the faith, champions of truth, those who "hold the spears and the shields and the bows and the corslets, and the captains behind all the house of Judah." But beside these special fighters, the "builders had every one his sword girded by his side, and built." All the people of God should regard the defence of his truth and the protection of the life of his Church as their vocation. We cannot know at what point the attack will be made. Let all put on the armour.
IV. THE GROUND OF CONFIDENCE. "We made our prayer unto our God, and we set a watch against them day and night because of them." Watch and pray. The true dependence is that which looks up to heaven, and at the same time lifts up the hands, ready for activity.
V. THE VICTORY OVER HUMAN INFIRMITY. Some were discouraged. Judah said, The strength faileth, there is much rubbish, we are not able to build. The Jews nearest the danger were afraid. There will always be the discontented and the fearful ones to provoke discouragement. But there are the Nehemiahs, who "look, and rise up, and speak." The true leaders "remember the Lord." They get courage for themselves and for their brethren from the high places of faith and fellowship with God. The Church should keep its eye upon such men, and its ear open to them.
VI. THE TRUMPET-CALL. "In what place ye hear the sound of the trumpet, thither assemble yourselves unto us. Our God will fight for us." There are times and places which rally God's people. They must draw together. They must forsake for a while their special, individual appointment. They must obey the trumpet which summons them to united effort against a desperate assault. This especially true in connection with the attacks of infidelity and superstition.
VII. THE UNIVERSAL REQUIREMENT. Unpausing, unresting toil and vigilance till the work is done. "Night and day." "None of us put off our clothes." The Church must endure hardness if it will accomplish its mission to build the wall of Jerusalem. Special need at times to guard against the growth of the spirit of self-indulgence, sloth, and compromise. Too much of the work is committed to the few willing labourers. All should be doing, and always doing, and doing their all. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.