Side by Side; Section by Section

 From Lynda Lindsey  

Nehemiah speaking: “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” Nehemiah 2:17

I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. Nehemiah 2:18(a)

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. But, when Sanballat... Tobiah... and Geshem... heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us, “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” Nehemiah 2:18(b)-19

Goldsmiths, merchants, and the high priest side by side. Men of Jericho side by side, shoulder to shoulder with men from other towns. Perfume-makers, Levites, and priests, side by side. A man side by side with his daughters. Section by section, adjoining section to section, erecting gates, and where possible repairing the wall closest to their own house, the building progressed. Typical for any major collaborative work, nay- sayers showed up, mocking, accusing, and ridiculing. Spewing forth insults, despising both the work and the workers, the enemy planted seeds of doubt. What are you feeble Jews doing? Will you finish the job? Bring these dead stones back to life? If even a fox climbed on the wall, he would break it down. God’s enemies, however, didn’t reckon on God!

Nehemiah assured his detractors God’s gracious hand upon a work insured the work’s success. The laborers, working with all their heart, closed the gaps until the wall climbed to half its height. When discouragement and fatigue set in, Nehemiah reminded the people that the work was the Lord’s. Combining prayer and action, Nehemiah divided the workers, positioning half as armed guards at the lowest, most exposed points of the wall, allowing the other half to continue building. Those delivering supplies did their work one handed while welding a weapon with the other. Awake, asleep, fully clothed, listening for the rallying alarm of the trumpet, the men worked side by side, section by section.

We too hear taunts. Who do you think you are? What do you think you can do? Give up now before you waste any more time, money, effort. Nehemiah’s rallying cry, “Don’t be afraid...Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes,” is similar in intent to Gideon’s battle cry, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon." Gideon’s small army, divided and stationed in diverse directions, routed the enemy’s huge army out of sheer determination to obey God and overcome God’s enemies. Who do we think we are? Servants of the Lord God Almighty! We await His rallying trumpet call! The battle is His. Band together, work side by side, shoulder to shoulder, for our King’s victory is certain!