“They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:16 (NLT)
One of the most interesting parts of the Olympic Games this time around has been the stories of faith many of the athletes have shared. In many cases the athletes have been very quick to give credit for their success in the pool, on the track, on the gymnastic floor, and so on. It has been refreshing to see some of the athletes recognize that their strength, determination, and abilities come from God. There are many things that go into reaching the goal of competing and hopefully winning a medal. The athlete must give themselves to the program/process, work hard, and endure through all of the training in order to reach the goal. You can tell when one of the athletes reaches the goal how wonderful the feeling must be.
The story of Nehemiah has this dynamic to be sure. The goal is reached in 52 days! All of the sacrifice and hard work pays off as the wall is completed. The people of God who worked so hard to achieve the goal must have been ecstatic and jumping for joy. There must have been hugs and high fives all around the city as they reached a tremendous goal in record time. I would have loved to be a part of that celebration, wouldn’t you? What a day of rejoicing that must have been. It is truly something special when the people of God come together and achieve a God sized goal.
Nehemiah’s enemies were not happy about it though. This time they did not come after Nehemiah and try and deride him at all. Instead, the Scripture says that they, “were frightened and humiliated.” They literally did not know what to do. They had spent the better part of almost two months mocking the people of God, Nehemiah especially, for engaging in a God-sized goal. The reason they were frightened and humiliated was that they neither understood the goal that was reached, nor the God who had given it. If the people of God could gather together while being under the rule of an enemy king and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem what else could they do?
Nehemiah helps us understand the real threat to the enemies. The real threat was God! Nehemiah says, “They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.” Wow! That’s what had the other nations shaking in their boots. This God of the Jews could lead the people of God to do amazing things together. The other nations did not have this God on their side. Remember the story of Elijah and the followers of Baal? It was a testimony to the people around Jerusalem that the God of the Jews was the God who did amazing things for God’s people. That both put the fear of God in them and brought shame to them for all of their mockery.
Whenever we reach a goal in our life as believers, it is only because of the help of God. God gives us the call to rebuild our life. We submit to God’s reign and rule in our life and endure all of the struggles along the way and eventually, with God’s help, we reach the goal. Once we reach the goal all honor, glory, and praise belong to God. We celebrate not because of what we did, but because of what God did with us. We realize that our goal was reached because of the help of our God.
I look forward to sharing more about this with you in worship this week as we continue the series “Rebuild.” I can’t wait to see you in church!