For He Will Fight for You
Open Your Bible
Nehemiah 2:1-6, Nehemiah 4:1-23, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Psalm 27:1-14, Matthew 10:26-30
“I think you’re just going to have to trust the Lord.” I sat quietly in a restaurant booth across from my high school small group leader, trying to figure out how to phrase the only question coming to mind.
We weren’t talking about large-scale trust; instead, the minute details of life. I can remember it like it was yesterday, the overwhelm and loneliness of sophomore year heavy on my young, in-process heart. I loved Jesus. I had grown up learning about Him. But I was tired of hearing phrases no one could actually explain.
We like to throw around Christian phrases (“Christianese,” if you will). Yet when someone asks what it means, we often answer “Um, well I think it means to…[insert more Christianese].”
I felt a similar gut-level response as I looked at today’s title, another phrase many of us often say, yet can’t quite articulate—and I’m no exception. But as I began to read, my defenses dropped as the context of the verse caught me by surprise.
In today’s reading, we find Nehemiah’s assuring words: “Our God will fight for us!” (Nehemiah 4:20). How can we trust that God will fight for us? Let’s start with God’s fight for those rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls in Nehemiah. Here we witness Nehemiah living out more than an abstract truth—we see his faith on display as he joins the Lord in the fight, evident through a few simple yet striking transitions:
Amidst overwhelming fear: “So I prayed to the God of the heavens” (Nehemiah 2:4)
In response to mockery and scorn: “So we rebuilt the wall” (Nehemiah 4:6)
In the face of their enemy’s furious plots: “So we prayed to our God and stationed a guard because of them” (v.9)
Against death threats: “So I stationed people…at the vulnerable areas…by families with their swords, spears, and bows” (v.13)
From the outside looking in, we get to witness God’s strength in Nehemiah’s vulnerability before the King, His wisdom in Nehemiah’s defense strategy, and His protection in their progress despite mockery and death threats.
Nehemiah didn’t wait to overcome his fear before he went to the king or built the wall. Nehemiah was acting in response to his own prayers. And while these words aren’t intended to be an exact formula for victory, when we look at the story as a whole, we can learn from his obedience. Notice Nehemiah’s response to victory in their building project. “We knew their scheme…God had frustrated it” (v.15). Nehemiah certainly remembered his own prayers to “the great and awe-inspiring Lord,” looking to God’s work instead of his own bravery, diligence, or strategy (v.14).
In our fear, we are still called to partner with God in the fight. I’ve often found comfort in knowing that I don’t have to wait until I’m not afraid to do the work God has put in front of me. Nehemiah prayed, strategized, and went to work. What has God been equipping you with to act on in faith?