In Nehemiah 6:1-14 we see Nehemiah’s integrity and resolution, two qualities needed when standing in the gap. His enemies tried to get him to cower but he would not back down (v. 11). It reminded us of Uriah in 2 Samuel 11 who would not be persuaded to relax while the army was still at war. Both Nehemiah and Uriah knew what was right and abode by it even while under pressure to do otherwise.
He did not seek to justify himself when falsely accused even though there was potential harm to himself and the work. Instead he devoted his attention and energies to what God had given him to do. In the end, the miracle of accomplishing God’s work in a short time gave God glory and silenced their enemies: “So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.”
Take a look into many cross-references to various phrases in v. 1-4. You’ll be encouraged as you do so.
“They thought to do me harm”—Psa. 12:2; 37:32; Ez. 33:30-33
“Sent messangers”—Prov. 14:15; Mt. 10:16
“Why should I leave and the work cease”—Ecc. 9:10; Luke 14:30; John 9:4; 1 Tim. 4:15-16
1. Saving Faith
You must have faith in Jesus Christ for salvation before you can begin a life of faith. You can call God “my God” but you cannot call Him “my Father” until you have been born into His family.
2. Living Faith
What is Living Faith? It is taking God at His Word with complete confidence. You can’t live by faith if you don’t know the Word of God. Know the Word of God, remember it, trust it and you will be able to rise above every storm that life throws at you.
As God develops your faith, He will take you through these stages:
You must leave the world system. God cannot use you as long as you are sitting in the world system.
You must believe God’s Word.
You must sacrifice when God tests your faith (Genesis 22).
A developed faith hears the command of God and obeys without a murmur, because God has your heart. Faith and obedience are the core of worship. You exist to bring pleasure to God!
Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
What is learning?
To acquire knowledge through experience or instruction. The Bible teaches us about several aspects of learning:
We learn God’s ways through affliction (Psa. 119:71-73).
Those who seek the Lord can learn righteousness (Isa. 26:9-10).
A wise man will accept the instruction of wisdom, which begins with the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:5-7).
A Christ-follower must learn practical skills to help others (Titus 3:14).
Like Paul, we must learn to be content in all circumstances (Phil. 4:10-13).
Jesus had to “learn obedience by the things that He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).
What are Biblical objects of learning?
Deut. 18:9-14 is clear on what we should NOT be learning—the evil ways of the world. Psa. 106:35-39 is a portrait of those who disregarded Deut. 18 and willfully chose to learn the evil ways of their idolatrous neighbors. Instead, we must choose the fear of the Lord (Deut. 14:23, 17:19), something that does not come naturally but must be learned.
What are the sources of learning?
The Word of God was written for the purpose of our learning (Rom. 15:4). Let’s take it seriously! In Matt. 11:29, Jesus Himself invites us to learn of Him, Who is meek and lowly in heart.
Ephesians 6:19-20 explains how we as soldiers in the Lord’s army, dressed in His armor, are to be His ambassadors in this world.
How many times do you look back at a situation and wish you had spoken up? Paul asked the Ephesian believers to pray for him “that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel…” (v. 19). Don’t be afraid to ask others to pray for you.
Like Paul, we can pray the 3-Open Prayer: open the door, open their heart, open my mouth (2 Cor. 1:11, Phil. 1:15-20, Col. 4:2-4). Our ability to be bold is a direct result of prayer (Acts 4:29-31, 1 Thess. 5:25, 2 Thess. 3:1).
In vs. 20 Paul calls himself an ambassador of the gospel. Humanly, an ambassador is an accredited citizen sent by a government to a foreign country as a representative, often with a specific message.
2 Cor. 5:16-21 gives the qualifications of a Christian ambassador—a new creature in Christ, given the ministry of reconciliation through whom God makes His appeal to individuals.
We are representatives of the King of Kings, carrying a message on His behalf. Let us carry His message with grace, clarity and joy.
Ephesians 6:13-17 tells us what armor to put on; vs. 18 tells us how to put it on: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” The sentence structure from verse 17 and 18 does not break—“praying always” is part of taking up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God).
From this verse we discussed prayer in the Christian life:
- We are called to be people of prayer (Luke 18:1)
- Praise God that He does hear our prayers (Psa. 65:2)
- We are to pray “in the Spirit”—led by Him, submitted to His will, praying according to what HE desires (Rom. 8:26, 1 Jn. 5:14)
- As new creatures in Christ, our focus needs to come away from fleshly things and center on the things of God (Matt. 16:23, Col. 3:1-3)
- Stay alert! Weakness sets in not because of the method of defense but lack of alertness (“watching thereunto with all perseverance”)
Ephesians 6:13, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
God has furnished armor for us—what a gracious, valiant Provider He is! Yet it is we who need to take up this armor, so that we can stand.
2 Cor. 10:4 reminds us, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds…” Though both the weapons and the warfare are invisible, the battles we face every day are very visible, and so is the victory if we attain it.
Rom 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Cast off the works of darkness. One question to ask could be, “Would I be ok with other Christians seeing me do this? So then am I ok with God watching me?”
Through Christ we have authority over the devil (see Luke 10:14-22).
Eph. 6:11, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” This familiar verse gives us some core reminders for Christian living:
- We need to be always ready for battle—don’t get ready, be ready.
- It’s the armor God Himself has given you!
- Put on the whole armor, don’t pick and choose.
- You have to put it on yourself, no one can do it for you.
When we put on the armor of God we are really putting on specific elements of the nature of Christ. Romans 13:12-14 says, “…let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
The purpose of putting on this armor is to stand strong against the evil schemes that the devil is actively crafting against us. We must resist him “in the faith” (1 Pet. 5:8-9) and know that unforgiveness holds the door open to demonic attack (2 Cor. 2:4-11). See also Joshua 23:6, Mark 13:22, 2 Cor. 11:12-15, Eph. 4:11-16, Col. 1:21-23.