When Nehemiah returned to the ruins of Jerusalem to rebuild the walls, it was truly a daunting task. Not only was it a physically enormous project, but there was resistance on every hand. With reference to the many enemies of the work, Nehemiah stated "conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. . . They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon." Nehemiah 4:8, 9, &17. What a challenge! Amazingly "the wall was finished in . . . fifty and two days" Nehemiah 6:15.
There is a spiritual lesson found in this story. Any time we are battling to overcome some character flaw or sin; we can expect difficulties from the get-go. Remember, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"
1 Peter 5:8. Just as the builders on the wall kept one hand constantly on a weapon, we must "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" Ephesians 6:11.
Once the wall was completed, one would think that Nehemiah would take a much needed break and consider his work done. Not so. The work accomplished must be guarded so as not to lose what had been gained. "When the wall was built, and I had set up the doors . . . I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house" Nehemiah 7:1-3.
Similarly, when we have claimed overcoming victory through Jesus, we must not then become lax and unguarded. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" 1 Corinthians 10:12. Never give the enemy an advantage. Paul realized this imperative. He said "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" 1 Corinthians 9:27. The term "keep under" is from the same Greek root word translated elsewhere as persevere or endure. Jesus said "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" Matthew 24:13.
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.