July 16 I Friday
“For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” —Deuteronomy 20:4
What do we do when the odds do not seem to be in our favour? Nehemiah was entrusted with the task of rebuilding the city walls of Jerusalem, but before his job could be completed, he was surrounded by opposition. He was faced with Sanballat and the Samaritans from the north, Tobiah and the Ammonites from the east, Geshem and the Arabs from the south and the men from Ashdod from the west. This may seem like an impossible scenario, but opposition ought not to take us by surprise. There is never any work for God that will not include hostility in one way or another.
To make matters worse, Nehemiah also had to deal with resistance from within his community. “The people in Judah said, ‘The strength of the labourers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall’” (Nehemiah 4:10). Sometimes the hardest thing to deal with when we are in battle is when our own people get discouraged.
Although discouragement is a common thing that we all face, the Bible’s answer to discouragement is, “Do not be discouraged!” This is not a helpful thing to hear on its own because it probably sounds like, “Don’t be discouraged! That’s a bad thing to feel.” But in actuality, “Do not be discouraged!” is meant to encourage us to take our focus from the issue and trust that God will be with us in the situation.
We find this truth echoed in Moses’s final words to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” The Israelites needed to get discouragement out of their minds and trust in God’s leading, that He would never leave them or forsake them.
Amidst oppositions and discouragements, Nehemiah stood up and said to the nobles, officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14). Nehemiah told them to, “Remember the Lord.” Why? Because in the midst of their grim situation, the Lord was not at the forefront of their thinking. They tried to work out the problem on their own, but forgot that they had a powerful God on their side. No matter what situations we may experience, may we remember the Lord, that He is the One fighting our battles.
Prayer: Lord God, I will remember You in my time of need. Thank You for the promise that You will never leave me or forsake me. I do not have be discouraged, because You are with me always. Praise You!