Nehemiah 6:9. “They were trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.'”
Have you ever gotten discouraged serving the Lord? When we begin a work of service we often begin with fresh enthusiasm and vibrant zeal, but as time goes on difficulties arise. In our humanness we become tired and wonder if we are really accomplishing anything. Nehemiah felt this way, but God encouraged him and helped him to finish the task he had set forth to do.
Nehemiah was in his 20th year of serving the king of Persia when he received word that his friends and family who had remained in Jerusalem during the Babylonian Exile were in great trouble and disgrace. The great wall of Jerusalem was broken down and the gates had been burned by fire. This left his compatriots in danger causing Nehemiah great distress. He started praying earnestly to the God of heaven asking forgiveness for his sins and the sins of his people. He then began to devise a plan to go to the king and ask for leave to return to his people and help them rebuild the walls of the city. “Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man (the king), ” he prayed.
God granted this request and the king gave his blessing for Nehemiah to return to the land of his birth. He gathered a group of workers and they began earnest work to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They were making great progress when an enemy who was not pleased with their efforts came and tried to stop them. The rebuilding continued, but it was dangerous work and very discouraging. Nehemiah encouraged the exhausted and fearful men with these words, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” From that day on the men continued the construction in shifts – half worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and armor. The opposition mounted as the wall continued slowly to take shape. The enemy believed if they could frighten the workers enough, their hands would get weak, they would discontinue the work, and the wall would not be completed. But Nehemiah prayed for the workers and for himself, “Now strengthen my hands.” Again God answered his prayer and soon the wall was completed and all the enemies who heard about it realized that it had been done with the help of the Lord. The wall was finished and God received the glory.
We also have an enemy. Any work done for the Lord does not go unchallenged. When you feel discouraged and exhausted in your ministry, don’t give up. Pray to the Lord of heaven to strengthen your hands and He will. He will give you power to accomplish the work He has given you. Whatever you do, stay up on the wall and don’t come down until the work is completed!