What has God been building in your life? In Nehemiah 4, it was a wall, but imagine this wall being whatever God is constructing in your life right now. I felt led to pass this on to encourage you in continuing to build. No sooner had those in Nehamiah started building than an onslaught of SEEDS OF DOUBT attacked them:
“and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!””
Nehemiah 4:2-3 NIV
Nevertheless, building continued until it was halfway complete. This progress came when they worked at it WITH ALL THEIR HEART. There is no room for half heartedness in this kind of building. Half heartedness is akin to double-mindedness. It has one foot in the building site and one foot out "just in case" it doesn't work out. When we let our hearts and actions and lives be built according to God's instructions (rather than halfway yielding to our doubts or logic), we build wholeheartedly. THEN something happens as a response from heaven. When we wholeheartedly build, as they do in Nehemiah 4:6, then we see in the next verse what happens:
“So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.”
Nehemiah 4:6-8 NIV
The GAPS BECOME CLOSED. To "fill in the gaps" according to Merriam-Webster is "to add what is needed to something to make it complete".
I've been noticing the number 247 recently. When I looked it up, it's correlated in Strong's with the Hebrew word "Azar" which means "to gird, encompass, or equip". Ironically, to equip means this very thing: to give what is needed. One of it's key uses is Isaiah 45:5 which reads:
"I am the LORD; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don't even know me".
Begin to notice and thank God for the ways in your life in which He is EQUIPPING you DESPITE your lack of knowledge. That number shows up again in Daniel 2:47 which says, "The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a REVEALER OF MYSTERIES, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” God is filling in the gaps, revealing mysteries, and equipping you with understanding that is not your own when you put your whole heart into what He's building.
As building continued in Nehemiah, the enemies of building did not relent. *Don't expect that because God is with you in this work that attacks will cease. Attacks are not a sign you should stop.* The Biblical response to these attacks was twofold:
“But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.”
Nehemiah 4:9 NIV
If you are encountering spiritual warfare during the "building" of God's promises in your life, your response is to do both. PRAY into God's will as your first line of offense and defense. Second, POST A GUARD. This means, be on watch for the moment those destructive thoughts or words or events begin to happen, and KICK THEM OUT. Don't allow them to stay at your building site.
“Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.”
Nehemiah 4:13-15 NIV
What are the "low points" for you right now? Where are you vulnerable? Where are you most easily tempted to quit? POST GUARDS AT THE LOW PLACES. And just as the old testament builders did, DECLARE GOD'S WORD at those low places. "Don't be afraid! Remember the Lord!" Should be your self talk at these "low points". Recall what He has done for you and what His words are and declare them at the low places in the wall to keep guard.
"From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other,"
This verse stood out to me as our call during this season. We are to have dual function. In our own lives we are to DO THE WORK with one hand. This means don't stop moving. Don't stop taking steps in the direction you are being called, even if they are small. With the other hand, we are to hold our weapon. We know in Ephesians 6 that our sword is the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God that divides truth from lies. It's more important than ever that we stay in the word constantly during this season as it is our weapon. If we are ARMED WITH THE TRUTH, the work God has started will be unable to be stopped until it comes to completion. The battle is going to be mostly in the mind, and it's a battle for truth. Hear in Nehemiah 6 about the similar struggle the builders had as they began to give into intimidating thoughts and doubts from their enemies:
“I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.””
Nehemiah 6:8-9 NIV
When things get into your head, our answer is clear: we are to rebuke it as NOT being what God is doing and pray "Now strengthen my hands!"
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6