By Matt Capps
There are often times in the Christian life when we face the tension of obeying God’s Word in our current culture. In His Word, He speaks; the Bible calls us to a life of bold obedience. However, there are times when in pursuing God’s call, we are confronted with conflict. There are times when our obedience to God places us in direct opposition to the world. These times call us to have faith and courage, to remember that God is sovereign over all things. This is the truth that fuels our faith.
In the latter section of Nehemiah 2, the prophet returns to Jerusalem with a burden to rebuild its walls. King Artaxerxes grants Nehemiah’s request, and even through the citizens are willing to work, he quickly finds opposition by some.
While Nehemiah knows the king of the land is behind these efforts, he ultimately attributes the authority behind this task as coming from God. Nehemiah understands that, in light of God’s sovereign providence, the dire situation is not insurmountable. He believed “the God of the heavens is the one who [would] grant [them] success” (v.20).
Therefore, because this is a divinely orchestrated blessing, Nehemiah is rightly convinced that those against the plan to rebuild are ultimately in opposition to the work of God. In light of this, he responds with courageous and prayerful obedience by carefully planning his course of action. And the people agreed saying, “‘Let’s start rebuilding,’ and their hands were strengthened to do this good work” (v.18).
What exactly fueled Nehemiah’s faith? It was the Word of God. It was the authority behind his bold and seemingly insurmountable task of rebuilding the walls. But isn’t it true that when God calls His people to a task, it is God who makes His people prosper? He promises, and we respond. We can either respond in bold faith, trusting in Him, or we can respond in fear, shrinking back at the opposition in front of us.
In many ways, Nehemiah is a heroic figure whose courage and resolve serve as an example to bolster our faith. He shows us what it looks like to live by faith, trusting in God. This same God reveals Himself to us in His Word and in the person of Jesus Christ, and calls us to respond in faith and obedience. And in His sovereignty, He has the power and authority to bring about His good and perfect will.
Written by Matt Capps