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Work and Protect

Nehemiah 4:15-23 (NLT)

When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.

Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, “The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!”

We worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset. And half the men were always on guard. I also told everyone living outside the walls to stay in Jerusalem. That way they and their servants could help with guard duty at night and work during the day. During this time, none of us—not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water.


I must admit that when I read today’s passage, I get a little pumped. Though I recognize that this group of citizens are working extremely hard under very difficult circumstances and their very lives are in danger, the way they rally together to accomplish what God is calling them to do is truly inspiring! Though much more intense, this situation reminds me of times in my life when I’ve worked on various teams to accomplish specific goals. Maybe you’ve had this experience, too? Everyone working hard, pulling his or her own weight, encouraging one another, looking out for one another, banding together to get the job done? There’s really nothing quite like it. In fact, accomplishing something as a team always seems much more rewarding than accomplishing something on your own.

But experiences like these don’t just happen. They come about as the result of great leadership and direction. And in today’s case, it’s Nehemiah who is at the helm, steering the ship.
Earlier in Nehemiah’s story when God calls him to rebuild the temple wall, we see Nehemiah first seek God and ask for direction (Nehemiah 2:4). Then later, in today’s passage, we see Nehemiah in the thick of the work:

-He makes necessary adjustments to protect the workers after learning of enemy plans (v. 16).

-He stations the leaders behind the workers to support and monitor the work (v. 16).

-He has each of the workers arm themselves so they can defend themselves if attacked while working (v. 17-18).

-He takes time to “explain” things to not just the nobles and officials but “all the people” (v. 19).

-He reminds them that “our God will fight for us!” (v. 20)

-He works day and night alongside the workers (v. 21).

-He provides direction (v. 22).

-He doesn’t demand or receive special treatment (v. 23).

In short, Nehemiah leads exceptionally well. He communicates, shoulders his share of the work, and takes measures to protect the people. And though we may not be charged today with rebuilding a temple wall, we are responsible for working hard to fulfill God’s calling and to care for those around us.

I encourage you to take a moment and reread today’s verses. Pay attention to the team effort that is at play. These verses are exciting, inspiring, and attainable!

Today, let’s be people who are faithful in what God has called us to do. Let’s be earnest and diligent in every task. And let’s work hard while encouraging, supporting, and serving each other well. These are the things God calls us to do, and when we do them effectively, we bring honor and glory to His name!

Action Steps

1. Has God called you to something that may require some extra effort? Invite God into that opportunity and ask Him to show you how to get started.

2. Who in your life are you leading today? Who is looking to you for direction? Take some time and ask God how you can best serve and lead those around you.

Lord, thank You for being such a good and gracious Father. Thank You for giving me opportunities to work and bring glory to Your name. Help me seek You for direction and help me work diligently to accomplish what You’ve called me to do. And most of all, help me to lead, love, and protect those you’ve placed in my care. Thank you for the ultimate example You’ve given me in Jesus. I love you, Lord. Amen.

1 Comment

Patt Neel - February 29th, 2024 at 11:36am

Look forward to the devotions each day. Thank you