Living Faithful to the Gospel (Nehemiah 4:1–4) - Radical

Living Faithful to the Gospel (Nehemiah 4:1–4)

“Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish and burned ones at that?’ Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, ‘Yes, what are they building? If a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.’ Hear, O our God, for we are despised.”
– Nehemiah 4:1–4

It just gives you a little taste and I wanted to read more than just one verse to pray according to today, because it gives you a little taste in just a few verses of all the opposition that God’s people faced in rebuilding these walls around Jerusalem. They faced opposition internally and externally.

We could read through and see all the different ways that God’s people were attacked from within and from without, to the point where later here in Nehemiah 4:17, maybe one of the most famous pictures in the book of Nehemiah is the people working on the wall with one hand and holding their weapon in the other because they were facing attacks coming at them as they worked. But it really gives a picture of the spiritual battle that plays out in all kinds of physical ways that we all inevitably face when we try to obey God’s word in this world.

Faithful to Reach Others with God’s Word

God, we pray for the people right around us. Lord, Help us be faithful to reach people right around us today.

It will never be easy to obey God’s word, to proclaim God’s word, to spread God’s word in this world. There will always be opposition. The reason I love these particular voices, so this is the beginning in a sense of much of that opposition, and you’ve got Tobiah saying, “Yes, even if a fox goes up on this wall, he’ll break it down,’ that’s what I love about where the book of Nehemiah goes, is once these walls are rebuilt, all the people climb up on those walls and they march around them, singing and dancing and making music and shouting.

And the sound of their singing and worshiping can be heard far away. And it’s just a reminder that when we face opposition for obeying God’s word, proclaiming God’s word, spreading God’s word and God’s worship, we can know that in the end, the victory is always, always, always ours, for all who are in Christ and who are walking in obedience to his word and his Spirit.

Nehemiah 4:1–4 Asks God to Help Us to Be Faithful

So God, I don’t know what kind of opposition every single person who’s listening to this right now is facing in their lives, in their families, in their churches, from within, from without. God, I pray over each person listening to this right now. Even as I pray for my own life, God help us each to be faithful to your word.

To faithfully walk with you according to the leadership and the power of your Spirit. In this metaphorical sense to work with one hand and hold a weapon in the other, to know, to be cognizant at every moment that we’re involved in a spiritual battle and a war that is raging in the heavenlies. And God, we pray that you would help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and your word and what you’re calling us to do in this world, to spread the good news of your grace and your love in this world.

So God, we pray, we know as we pray for, God, we pray for Arabic-speaking Moroccans in Morocco, 24 million of them, 0.08% followers of Jesus. God, we know that the gospel will not reach them without a lot of hard work and a lot of opposition, a lot of battles. So God, we pray for missionaries. We pray for believers. I think about one man I know. Follower of Jesus. Indigenous brother in Morocco, who’s, it’s not easy following you, proclaiming the gospel. God, please bless him. Help him. Bless those who are working there. Send more workers there for your glory. For the spread of your grace. So God, that the gospel may reach people in Morocco. God, we pray for Morocco.

Nehemiah 4:1–4 Leads Us to Pray for Those Around Us

So God, we pray for the people right around us. Help us be faithful to reach people right around us today. And God, help us in each of our lives to press on in the middle of opposition. In the face of opposition. Knowing that your word is good. That it’s a rock, and that as long as we’re abiding in it, you’re abiding in us. We’re walking in obedience to your word. That victory not based on our own doing but based on Christ in us, that victory is ours.

So God, all glory be to your name. We look forward to the day when the sound of rejoicing will be from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Help us to live with confidence amidst spiritual battles today and anticipation of that day. We pray in Jesus’ name in light of Nehemiah 4:1–4. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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