Nehemiah four has the enemy reacting to the work on the wall. “When Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews”. These enemies did not want Judah to regain control and strength. They have run over the people for decades and certainly don’t want to give up that power now. Another enemy, “Tobiah said….if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall”. The enemy wanted to deflate the efforts and dishearten those working on the wall.
But Nehemiah was equally resolute in is mission. He prays to God “Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders”. This was a war of words, and so far Nehemiah is winning. The people stayed on course and “we built the wall….all the wall was joined together”. It isn’t tall enough, but they have successfully made it complete at half its height.
The enemies of Judah weren’t giving up though. “They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it”. They were ready to move from words to fighting. This wall was not acceptable to the enemies of Judah. And Nehemiah leads the people to God again. “We prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection”. They prayed but also had everyone prepare to fight if the enemy came to their city. “I stationed the people by their clans”. Nehemiah knew they would be most likely to pick up their sword if they were protecting their families and homes.
He encourages them by reminding them that God is on their side. “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers”. It was a powerful plan, and Nehemiah used his leadership skills to walk the people through this challenge. “Half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears”. He systematically managed the people so they were always ready for an attack. And they weren’t out there alone. “The leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah”. This was a battle of all against the enemy. Leaders were right there with the people, ready for any attack.