Daily Word

Change your focus | Nehemiah 4:10-14 (NLT)

10 Then the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.” 11 Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.” 12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” 

13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”

Weak faith

The situation was not perfect. That is, not all the Jews were fully on board and trusting the Lord. Their faith was weak and they needed practical help and advice from their leader Nehemiah. 

  • Those from Judah were complaining about the situation – the work is too overwhelming.
  • Those who lived closer to where the enemy lived were more influenced by the enemy’s discouragement so they expressed their fear 10 times (according to the NASB version) to Neheniah.

More threats

The threats of the enemy become more violent now in v11. Though previously (Nehemiah 4:8), they made threats to attack, now they sounded more certain. Nehemiah took additional, practical steps to encourage the people to get the work done. Yesterday, in Nehemiah 4:9, he set up guards. He now takes that one step further. He positions (extra?) guards at the weakest points and has families defend together. Then he gives them a charge, as that of a commanding general.

Change your focus

What is Nehimiah’s solution to the complaints and fears? He calls them together and charges them to change their focus: “Remember the Lord”. The situation may be grave but God is “great and glorious”. In his rallying cry, he also charged them to remember they are working and fighting for their families and homes.

So often we are doing the Lord’s work, even just living the Christian life, and we lose focus. We take our eyes off the Lord. As we do, our fears and frustrations grow while faith fails. Take Nehemiah’s charge to heart: “Remember the Lord!”

Image from Pxfuel.com

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