Read Nehemiah 4:7-23. In what ways did Nehemiah show courage? What gave him this courage?
Nehemiah stood up against their enemies, who tried to intimidate the Jews. Nehemiah responded by taking the initiative to get the people ready to fight. Nehemiah did not just say “All right, God, You do it all”. Instead, he had the people do their part. They picked up swords and other weapons while at the same time working to build the wall. The Jews, under the leadership of Nehemiah, did not cower in fear but rather boldly picked up arms to defend themselves. Nehemiah encouraged the people, believed in them, worked with them, and gave them the responsibility to act. He empowered them to do the work as he delegated and assigned responsibilities. However, Nehemiah didn’t just tell the people what to do and then go to hide in his room. He stood alongside them and did the hard work that needed to be done.
There are times in the Bible when God told people to stand still and watch Him fight, and then there are many other instances when God said, “Prepare to act, and I will give you victory”. We must do our part if we want to see God’s deliverance and blessings.
“In Nehemiah’s firm devotion to the work of God, and his equally firm reliance on God, lay the reason of the failure of his enemies to draw him into their power. The soul that is indolent falls an easy prey to temptation; but in the life that has a noble aim, an absorbing purpose, evil finds little foothold. The faith of him who is constantly advancing does not weaken; for above, beneath, beyond, he recognizes Infinite Love, working out all things to accomplish His good purpose. God’s true servants work with a determination that will not fail because the throne of grace is their constant dependence” - Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 660.
In the end, Nehemiah drew his courage from his understanding of the reality and power of God. And yet, as we have seen, his knowledge of God caused him to act in accordance with his faith.
Though the context is different, how does what we have seen in Nehemiah reflect this text: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works’. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18, NKJV)?