Nehemiah: Day 5

We Kept Rebuilding in Spite of Opposition


Today's Text: Nehemiah 4:1-23, Genesis 28:15, Ephesians 1:18-23

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 4:1-23, Genesis 28:15, Ephesians 1:18-23

In my second year of college, I flunked out. Well, maybe not “flunked out,” but I was definitely placed on academic probation. I couldn’t take classes at the university for a full year. Humiliated and miserable, I returned home to wait out my year off. I took that year very seriously. With the help of a coach, I learned the value of delayed gratification and self-governance. It was the hardest work I’d ever undertaken, and that hard work paid off when I returned and graduated.

A few years later, I decided I wanted to get healthy. Eating well and exercising were more challenging than I’d expected, and there were several times I wanted to give up. But each time I felt overwhelmed, I remembered the hard work of teaching myself to self-govern and to delay immediate gratification, and how those skills had earned me a diploma. Remembering these things spurred me on toward health.

In Scripture, the command to “remember” certain things is common. The Israelites were instructed to remember God delivered them from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 13:3), and they were charged with committing the law to their memory (34:27). Similarly, the New Testament church was instructed to remember the victorious work of Christ on the cross through observing holy communion (Luke 22:7-19). It seems that “remembering” is the bridge that connects the past to the future—a present action that recalls the past and serves to propel us into our future.

The author of Nehemiah is recounting an experience during the rebuilding of the wall, when the circumstances of the present seem to be overwhelming the promise of the future. External forces were devising a plan to obstruct the building of Jerusalem’s walls. The opposition first tried to plant seeds of doubt. They hurled taunts and ridicule as the Jews were beginning their work, yet the Jewish builders persisted. But when they were about halfway through, the naysayers decided to destroy the work.

Understandably, the prospect of battle put fear in the hearts of the Jews who were working, and they began to doubt. Nehemiah assessed the danger and found that it was indeed very real. And so he told the workers to outfit themselves with the accoutrements of battle, and he directed them to “remember the great and awe-inspiring God” (Nehemiah 4:14).

And remember they did. They remembered the battles previously fought and won with Jehovah as their commander-in-chief, and they prepared to fight to protect their wives, their children, and the future of their holy city, Jerusalem. The remembering brought them strength—not just strength to arm themselves, but strength to continue the work.

Today, I’m encouraged to continue the work God has called me to, remembering His faithfulness in my past. The opposition of my present circumstances might be a very real threat—funky finances, a broken relationship, systemic injustice—but today I choose to remember the character and promises of the God I serve.

“Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land,
for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
—Genesis 28:15


Erin Rose lives and works in vibrant Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as Worship & Teaching Pastor at East End Fellowship.  She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Erin is a member of Urban Doxology, a ministry that is writing the soundtrack of reconciliation for the church. Her greatest joy lies in leading God’s people in authentic worship, and teaching them the truth found in God’s Word. She also enjoys eating delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and indulging in the occasional Netflix binge.

  • Emily Gates

    I struggled remember Him, but I can look back and see where he was. I struggled an incredible amount with self gratification and worth. .. it’s not necessary at all. God doesn’t ask me to micro manage. My eternity is already managed. So, I’m at some peace that perfection is not mine unless I’m speaking about knowing the one true king. I love you Jesus. Take this cup from me!

  • Terrie Fulk

    I need to remember what God has done for me in the past. And even if I feel what I need to do in my life isn’t being done on my timeline that God has His own for my life. God will be there to help me accomplish what I need to. I need to remember it may take time, but God will help me accomplish it.

  • Kelly Morris

    I love how verses 13-14 recount the efforts that Nehemiah went to in order to get the Jews on the defensive (“I stationed people” at XYZ; “I made an inspection;” “I stood up and told everybody not to be afraid…”), yet what we’re told in verse 15 gives all the credit to God: “When our enemies heard that we knew their scheme and that God had frustrated it…”
    I love the theme in this story thus far of how faithful Nehemiah has been in trusting the Lord from the get-go, but I also love this section of verses and how seemingly easy it was for Nehemiah to give all the credit to God despite all the work Nehemiah and his people had been putting in. Often I find that it’s really easy to ask God for help when the going is tough, but then I forget to thank and credit him when the prayers are answered.
    I’m thankful this morning for the reminder of God’s faithfulness.

  • I need to make sure to remember all the ways God has provided me in the past when facing new challenges. This was a great reminder of that!

  • Lacey Hundley

    It’s just incredible the tenacity that they had-not just to defend themselves, but ALSO to rebuild the wall. So often I can just go “on the defense” through my spiritual walk and just go to God when I have problems. But to actually serve God, daily putting in the effort to know him and build up my soul and mind reminds me of what the Jewish nation was doing—putting in the hard work to consistently honor God WHILE dealing with battle. WOW

    • Annah

      Thank you for this! It was a great addition to the devotional!

    • Vanessa Pardi

      Thanks for your comment. It summarizes what God is telling us with these passages beautifully. We have to examine our walk with God and make sure we honor him through it.

  • I needed this today. This has been a terrible and beautiful season. My boyfriend left in the most terrible way, becoming someone I don’t even recognize and running from God. In a matter of a month I lost my boyfriend, a friend and my job. In it all, all logic says, run the other way, yet, there is a voice that I feel is calling me to lean in and wait. It is so painful to sit in all of this, but I know that even in the pain, God is doing beautiful work in me. I feel such a strong burden in all of this for him, for the forces at work in his life that keep a pattern going. I question myself and my own desires constantly. Is it God or is it me? But I know that left to my own devices I leave before left, im great at resentment and bitterness. So even there I see God is changing me. I question what I feel like God is calling me to constantly. Yet, its is reminders like Gen 28:15 that center me again. Knowing that God is faithful and has been faithful in my life and that He is with me watching over me. It all looks impossible, a Red Sea situation really. But God is big, and I place my faith in the fact that He never calls us into something where He isn’t protecting us. Today I will shift my attention back to what He has done to remind me of all he is doing!

    • Jessica Hagen

      Thank you for this. I am going through the same thing, the end of a relationship, and he too is just unrecognizable. I mistakenly put so much into this relationship and now my world has been shaken. I see God daily in this struggle, some days more than others. I see how loved by Him I am. I appreciate your honesty as I clicked so much with and were greatly encouraged by your words. Prayers, peace, and comfort to you.

      • Lindsey

        Oh Jessica, I will be praying for you in all of this too! I know how hard and confusing it all is. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has good things in store for both of us, whether or not it includes them. You are doing it all just right. Much love to you this evening.

    • Stephanie Goodwin

      Have you heard of the song Red Sea Road by Ellie Holcomb? Hope

    • Stephanie Goodwin

      Sorry it keeps sending early. :) The link is to the song. A great album for weariness!

  • Katie Riegel

    I love the reminder to remember! So many times I feel overwhelmed and this present moment feels so suffocating that’s it is hard to remember that this to shall pass and that God has got me through before and HE WILL be faithful again!

  • Brittany

    This is what I needed today. I have battling anxiety, and it seems like I’ve been at it for a long time. But this is very helpful. I just need to remember how far I’ve come.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Brittany, thank you for sharing. We’re praying for you and so grateful that you’re reading along with us. -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Shannon S

      Praying for you, Brittany!

  • Shelby Lynn

    In Nehemiah 4:14, I need to remember the Lord as he was an abundant list of faithfulness qualities throughout OT, NT and present time. How I should focus on his character and promises. I was told at church this past Sunday that I need to find ‘balance’ about work-home-marriage-family. I agree, my work had taken a driver seat as I have tried to work as much overtime as I could for more money, to pay things off. Now the Lord removes overtime for the time being and I have been able to attend church more (unless I’m scheduled on a Sunday). My marriage is a little rocky with barely seeing one another and when we do, sex isn’t always a priority to me (whereas it’s always on his mind). I continually pray for guidance from God for me to not idolize money as God is truly the one who provides. Now I yearn for vacations abroad to see more of God’s creation.

  • I love the message of remembering God’s past victories on our behalf to give us the strength and courage to have faith and be obedient to him in the present. I wish we didn’t NEED to remember in order to have faith–that we could have faith regardless–but it’s true that clinging to God’s promises and the many times He’s already fulfilled those promises gives us fortitude. I’m currently weaning off of several antidepression/antianxiety medications I’ve been on for several years. In addition to depression and anxiety, they helped me to manage an eating disorder and I gained weight that, while needed, now feels unbearable to me without the buffer of the medication. It’s been a very difficult, very intense spiritual battle, and I’m so thankful for the reminder that I simply have to remember all the times God has carried me through in the past and cling to that to help me trust that he will carry me through this situation I’m facing now.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Amanda, thanks so much for sharing. We’re so grateful for you and are praying for you! -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Katie Riegel

      Thanks for sharing your struggle Amanda! God is good and will be your strength! ❤️ I am praying for you!

  • Abbey Byrd

    My heart has felt funky, my body feels tired, with 3 littles at home it can be tempting to want to get away to rest. And although I believe all mamas should get some time to refuel, when the time is available, I can’t do that just yet. I need to remember the Lord upholds each of us. Remember and meditate on the good he’s done in my life and keep putting one foot in front of the other with his strength and grace covering me like a royal robe. ❤️

  • Madeline

    Oh how this was needed… Thank you!!!

  • AnnMarie L. Smith

    “Do not me afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome…”
    I need this in my ear especially at work.

  • Megan Blew

    Love the thought…remember helps us connect the past to the present and then to the future! It brings us strength to continue because we know God keeps his promises!

  • Molly Cross

    This message was right on time! Right now I feel like I am going through opposition to what the Lord planted in my heart several years ago, and doubt is creeping in for time that has passed and the circumstances don’t seem right, but still in His time, in his way!

  • What I really want to remember: six years ago I had very few friends and really struggled to be outgoing. If someone would’ve told me back then how my life would look like now, I probably couldn’t have believed that person. God blessed me soo abundantly with amazing friends and made me a leader of a group for international students and now I can help them to feel welcomed and to get to know God :-). He gives us more than we can hope for!

  • Danielle Merriweather

    Lord, help me to remember that despite opposition and difficulties in life that you are willing and want to fight for me! Help me to put those tough situations in your hands.

  • Sarah Jalomo

    He will not leave me until He has done what He has promised to me! Now I ask myself…what exactly is that promise, for my own life? Abraham had his promise…what is mine?

    • Mary Sprague

      The promise for everyone of us is that He will never leave us or forsake us.
      Having His presence with us no matter what the season of life, is having EVERYTHING we need. He is the treasure.

  • Please pray for a gentleman a met at the laundromat yesterday. He said that he had no family and thought that God had abandoned him. He is in very poor health asked God to take him and do whatever he would with him. I tried to encourage him. He was going into assisted living in just a few days. He needs encouragement and to know God really does care.

  • 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 came to mind as I read through the Scripture, devotion and comments this morning:
    “7Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 8We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.”
    Praise God that He is for us and not against us and always, always with us.

  • Angela G

    Reading this felt like reading the latest news articles from Israel about these last few weeks. Israel being attacked and taunted by their neighbors for just being Jewish is nothing new. The “remember” part for me is that the Lord has this. He has taken care of Israel in the past and He will continue to take care of them today just as He takes care of me.
    Lord, continue your blessings upon Israel. Let us bless your people and be their neighbor of peace. Thank you for your continuing mercies upon us. May we remember you are the same God of history. The same God today. And the same God tomorrow.

  • Sarah D.

    Hey everyone, could you please pray for my brother and my dad? They are going to meet with an attorney at 11am (EST) to talk about my brother getting a divorce with his wife. I hurt so much for him, but I know God is going to work this out somehow. Please pray for strength, comfort, and guidance for him. Love you all!

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Sarah, thank you for sharing. We’re praying for strength, comfort and guidance for your brother and dad. So grateful you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Katelyn

      I’m praying❤️

  • Duchess Edmonds

    Today’s reading was right on time!

  • England Elsie

    In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” I want to move out of my house – there have been many difficulties there and move nearer to church. But there is a lot of renovation work to be done that is overwhelming to do, I don’t feel I have the skills, and costly to get others to do. It has been going on a long time, I feel like the verses above. I pray God helps me do it all and I can move nearer.

  • I need to remember how far he has brought me and that He continues to be faithful. I’m facing another challenge please pray that I would keep remembering that HE is faithful.

  • I’m thankful that the Lord gives me just what I need.

  • what has touched my heart today, is the remembering… that is what this study has been telling me so far…this is what God has been speaking to my heart “Remember where you were, who you were, and the work I have done for you,. You are where I have lovingly placed you. I will not abandon you in tough times. I will remain with you, you must remain in my word”

  • This was so perfect. Every day I come here to start my morning with these devotionals, and every day God has a word for me to help me through. I’m struggling hard financially, and some days I don’t know how I’m going to make it. But I trust in the Lord that he’ll get me through. ♥

    • Irina

      Hi Kristy! I’m moved by your financial struggle and would like to send you some amount of money. It’s not a lot, but I hope it will be helpful. If you’ll send me your address on my email:
      [email protected], I hope that I can do it.

  • I have just really been immersing myself in this bible study. I didn’t realize how relevant this study on Nehemiah would be for my life right now. I have felt flattened by my life’s circumstances but through this reading I am believing God’s promise. He is rebuilding me. He loves me. He is with me and watches me wherever I go and He will not leave me until He has done what He has promised me. Genesis 28:15 May my heart be flooded with His light so I can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:18 Remember the Great and Awe- inspiring Lord. Nehemiah 4:14
    May I take all of these words and keep them close to my heart always. Blessings to you Ladies. I hold you all close to my heart <3

  • It also struck me this morning as I’m reading about how Nehemiah organized all this. From the rebuilding to the defense of the workers. Nehemiah was a cupbearer! Not a soldier in the kings army or an official but a cupbearer which meant all his responsibility was to taste the kings wine to make sure it wasn’t poisoned and then to bring it to the king. He hears about the broken wall and destruction and God equips him for the work ahead. A cupbearer becomes a leader organizing great work to be accomplished. There is no one who is insignificant.

    • Trayce Allen

      Janet, I love that you pointed out the fact Nehemiah was a mere cupbearer. God can use all of us for great things.

  • Father, help me to have the strength today to work with one hand and carry my weapon (Your Word) with the other, knowing You are with me and will help me finish the work You have given me to do.

  • Kelly Chataine

    God’s Word is terrific! As we work toward my husband’s recovery and rebuild our lives, the scripture is so applicable and timely. Like the Jews, I have been full of hope and anticipation, as well as, afraid and uneasy. God’s word is relevant at all times which is a miraculous thing!

    • Gina Glennon

      Kelly, through God’s Word, may you be greatly strengthened by His presence alongside you as you fill your mind with Him, your mighty warrior!

    • Julie

      Kelly I am on a journey of rebuilding as well. I have felt a lot of the feelings you have expressed here. You are so Loved!!! May you continue to be filled with Hope and Anticipation for the good work that God is doing in you. God has us in his hands. Praying for you and your family <3

  • Kelly Chataine

    God’s Word is terrific! After Dennis’ fall, I feel that we are rebuilding and it has been difficult. We are full of hope most of the time. At times, doubt sets in and setbacks happen. Today’s scriptures and the reading genuinely apply, and I am thankful for the encouragement and direction He has provided today.

  • Jessica C

    As a school teacher, the end of the year is an extremely stressful time. The students are full of energy and excited for summer, while we are trying to finish up all of the classwork, assessments, and end of the year duties. I have worried so much about everything on my to-do list that I have forgotten to enjoy these last few days with the children the Lord has entrusted to me. Today’s passage reminded me to take a deep breath and use this last week to fill my children’s hearts with joy and love. The paperwork will get completed and my students will end the year knowing they were so loved by their teacher. I just need to put my trust in the Lord.

    • Bethany Slocum

      Yes, yes, yes!!! Keep loving those kiddos. You got this!!

    • Annebet Pettit

      Me, too! Thank you for posting. I teach 11th grade but it’s the same: so much work and stress here at the end of the year that I’m struggling to fulfill my first duty to my own family and enjoy my messy, needy, amazing college kids as they come home! The Lord equips those whom he calls. Keeping this in mind today.

    • Kathy

      Thank you for this reminder about being sure my students know they are loved. I teach high school art so I have 9th – 12th grade. It has not just been chaotic, but it’s been like chaos on crack. I have several students that are just not nice people. They are so hard to love and trying to get final projects completed and still maintain a semblance of order this week has completely wiped me out. But, I am taking a deep breath and trusting that God will enable me to end this year on a high note.
      Be blessed!

  • I’m also reading on the Proverbs 31 First 5 app. The devotion was from Haggai 1 and rebuilding God’s house. One of the take away seas to put God First! As I was reading this devotional I thought of this Chris Tomlin song! Resurrection Power! The same Power that raised Jesus from the dead is with us. Chris Tomlin said that he doesn’t wake up thinking about that every day either. Just think about how awesome that is! Like the scripture says, think about the great and awe inspiring God! He’s got us!

  • Churchmouse

    So much in these passages :
    Verbal opposition.
    The week to keep building.
    Threat of physical aggression.
    Stationing of a guard.
    Vulnerable areas guarded by families.
    Remember the greatness of the Lord.
    Fight for countrymen, family, home.
    Return to the work, sword at your side.
    The trumpet.
    Listen for it.
    Be ready.
    Spend the night inside Jerusalem.
    Carry weapon at all times.
    God is with us.
    He will not leave.
    His promise will be fulfilled.
    Know the hope – the goodness of His power to us.
    God is far above every ruler and authority.
    Everything is under His feet.
    He is great over everything.

    Lesson for me from all of the above : Rest easy, Churchmouse. Pray, persevere, trust in God. He’s got all this under control. Nothing is falling apart. It is falling in to place. His will be done. Rest easy.

    • Churchmouse

      The WILL to keep building… He is HEAD over everything…

    • Julie

      Yes all of this is so good. I am feeling challenged by my circumstances but I need to remember God is head over everything. Rest easy, Julie. Pray, persevere, trust in God. He’s got all this under control. Nothing is falling apart. It is falling in to place. His will be done. Rest easy. Thank you for these words. I needed to hear them! Blessings to you Churchmouse. I always get a good take away from your comments. Thank you <3

  • Absolutely and without any hesitation.. I too choose today to remember…
    As my daughter’s birthday approaches.. I choose to remember how far God has brought me … I know peace.. I know hope.. I know God is with me each day..
    Thank you Lord God for walking, holding, loving, Protecting, comforting, healing this ‘once was a wreck’ who could see no way home, through the fog and darkness of a broken heart and loss.
    I remember Lord God..
    I remember..

    With praise and a thankful heart… Thank you Lord God… thank you..

    Happy Friday my sister’s.. Be blessed..xxxx

    • Pam

      Happy Friday to you too, Tina. Your story is always an encouragement. God Bless You!

    • Julie

      Blessings to you too Tina. I agree with Pam, your words are always so encouraging here and so needed. Your Love for the Lord shines upon us! Happy Friday :)

  • Marushca Van Noordwyk

    Today’s study has my jaw almost dropped to the ground. I am actually going to be late for work but the more I read the more it lead me to other verses and I got so excited about what God was showing me this morning.

    Firstly it was once again shown in v4 that Nehemiah prayed to the Lord, he has been praying to the Lord about everything since the start and I immediately thought about James 5:16 “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” and in Nehemia’s case that was exactly the results of his prayers.
    Sometimes we forget the power of prayer but Nehemia had this part sorted out. Even though we are only at chapter 4 the one thing that stands out is his prayer life with God.

    Secondly the last part of v23 “We carried our weapons with us at all times even when we went for water”
    I shouted out to me that we should always be prepared!!
    We never know when the thief will come to kill or destroy, so be prepared at all times with our shield of faith and our sword (word of God) even in times we feel “relaxed”.

    Lastly Genesis 28:15 has so many scriptures pointing out the exact same thing. GOD WILL NOT LEAVE US. It is cleary stated here as well as in Deut 31:6 and Jos 1:5.
    What an amazing feeeling to know God has our backs. Thanks ladies for this Bible Study this morning. What a way to begin a Friday!!! ❤️

  • today I choose to remember the character and promises of the God I serve.
    Thank you God for the great reminder of these truth in your word and promises to me.
    Thank you God.

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