The Power And Peril Of A Witness
A daily devotion for August 13th
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them. 18 For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. 19 Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
So the wall was completed... When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God (Nehemiah 6:15-16).
Even their enemies had to admit that God was at work in His people's lives. He was what accounted for their amazing success. This entire project was finished in just fifty-two days! Nehemiah had left Persia in April, and it took him several months to journey to Jerusalem. Yet on October 2 in the year 445 BC, the wall was completed. They finished the work in fifty-two days because they put their minds and shoulders to the task and looked to God for wisdom and power to achieve.
When our enemies heard about this, they lost their self-confidence and they realized that they were battling against God himself, says Nehemiah. What a beautiful picture of the power of Christian witness in a community! Even their enemies must agree that God is at work among them.
But the enemies are still not through. Notice how they continue their tactics of opposition. Tobiah had intermarried with the Israelites. Taking advantage of that relationship, he was seeking to undermine Nehemiah's influence by nothing more than mere gossip.
The devil never quits. He is never going to give up while we are still alive. Even those Christians who have lived over seventy years will tell you the battle is just as intense, sometimes more so, than it ever was. Christians cannot expect the battle to end until the Lord calls them to glory, because that is the nature of life.
God has wonderful blessings and much encouragement and joy for us along the way, but we must never cease battling against the world, the flesh, and the devil until we get home. Do not expect your retirement days to be without difficulty or struggle. That is what the world seeks, and that is a confused and distorted view of life. But it is not ours. The enemies will never quit. If they cannot undermine us with fear and flattery, they will try gossip and false rumors. This is what Nehemiah demonstrates for us.
Teach me, Father to be grateful for victories won, but never to become complacent as if the battle were over.
Life Application: In our present circumstance, can we expect opposition from the world, our old habits, and the devil to cease? How does faith in Jesus enable victory?
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