One of the things I really love about the Bible is its honesty. If something is awful, the writers made sure to express that as honestly as possible. If a person was being a complete jerk, it’s recorded in the Word for people to read centuries later. No punches were pulled when it comes to the Bible and Nehemiah is a prime example of this.
While the people were diligently working to rebuild the wall, some hecklers showed up. These guys began mocking the work that was so beautifully being accomplished. They joked that the wall wouldn’t be able to keep anyone out. They jested that if a feather fell on it, the whole thing would collapse.
I don’t know about you, but if these goons showed up and started mocking what I was doing, calling my team incompetent, and saying that our efforts were futile, I would be ready to meet them out in the parking lot to settle this Fight Club style. Or, if I had a sober self-assessment about my size and fighting skills, I would engage and best them in some scathing repartee.
But that’s not what Nehemiah and the people did. They prayed and then they worked.
“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. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.” Nehemiah 4:4-5 (ESV)
Now, I’m not saying that we pray this exact prayer that Nehemiah did on our enemies, they are people who are lost that Jesus died to reunite with the Father. But I include it because it’s a prayer of complete confidence in God’s love and defense of his children. Nehemiah didn’t wonder if God was going to take care of the situation. He had full confidence in God. He didn’t wonder if the Lord was going to defend his people—he was certain.
If you’re a child of God, do you trust that your Heavenly Father will come to your defense?
Often, my initial reaction to almost anything is to protect myself. I’ve spent a lot of my life doing what I can to shield myself from any situation or person I deem as harmful. When things get painful, I numb myself through distractions. When a relationship gets rocky, I isolate so I can’t be hurt. When things get just a little too real, I begin reconstructing my facade of perfection so I don’t have to be vulnerable.
Because I’ve spent so many years trying to protect myself, I struggle to trust God to protect me.
When someone says something mean about me, I immediately want to discredit them to those around me. Or, if I know someone’s coming after me, I try to beat them to the punch.
But that’s not at all what Nehemiah did. He didn’t engage with the opposition because he didn’t need to. God had it under control.
Now, this is a much easier thing to talk about than to actually do, but I encourage you to take a look at what your actions reveal about your view of God. Do you see him as your defender? Do you trust him to be your vindicator? Or do you think you have to take matters into your own hands?
No matter where you fall on the trust scale, there’s always another area or another layer of trust that God is inviting us into. He’s not judging us and he’s not upset with us if we’ve been trying to defend ourselves all this time, but he’s lovingly inviting us to lay down our weapons and come to the safety of his arms. Let’s run to him today!
“God doesn’t like us more when we succeed or less when we fail. He delights in our attempts.” Bob Goff, Everybody Always
Do you struggle to trust God as your Defender? Why do you think that is?
What does trusting God daily look like for you?
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