God had called Nehemiah out of a comfortable job in Persia to move to Jerusalem and lead His people to rebuild the walls of the city. It was a daunting task to be sure, but Nehemiah was the right man for the job. He had the administrative skills to coordinate the details of the project and the leadership skills to keep the people focused on the task. But there was another very special quality that set him apart: he was a man who feared the Lord. He had a deep love and respect for God based on a high view of God’s holiness and sovereignty. You can hear it in the way he approached God in prayer: “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (1:5). Nehemiah feared the Lord, and as Oswald Chambers wrote,
“The remarkable thing about fearing God is that, when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
Nehemiah had good reason to be afraid, and it would have been understandable if he had quit and moved back to Persia. As the Jerusalem project neared completion he became the focus of a conspiracy that threatened his reputation, questioned his motives, and endangered his very life. But with fearless faith, he kept working until he had completed his God-given task. When Sanballat (the hateful governor of neighboring Samaria) and his allies tried to lure him into an ambush, Nehemiah saw through their scheme and just kept building (v.2-4). When they launched a smear campaign against him, Nehemiah prayed for strength and continued working (v.5-9). When they paid one of the Jewish leaders to frighten him into hiding, again Nehemiah prayed and got back to work (v.10-14). Under constant pressure to give up, and surrounded by enemy spies, Nehemiah was undaunted (v.17-19) — he led the people to complete the wall in only 52 days.
When you face opposition or discouragement as you try to live for Jesus and do His work, remember Nehemiah’s example. The same God who protected him will protect you; the same God who answered his prayers for strength will answer yours. So get busy, trust the Lord, and “Git-R-Done!”