Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes -

Nehemiah: Excelling In Leadership In Hard Times
Part VII: Handling Threatening Conspiracy By Prayer And Extensive Protective Vigilance
(Nehemiah 4:7-23)
  1. Introduction
    1. A great challenge to God's blessing is the threat of conspiracy by some party to harm us by entrapment with evil plans and actions that catch us innocently unguarded and open to terrible destruction!
    2. As difficult as it may be to deal with such a situation, Nehemiah 4:7-23 provides insight, offering an example of how the excellent leader and godly Nehemiah responded to threatening conspiracy as follows:
  2. Handling Threatening Conspiracy By Prayer And Extensive Protective Vigilance, Nehemiah 4:7-23.
    1. After Israel's foes heard that the walls of Jerusalem had been partly built and its gaps were being filled so that the Hebrews had partial national protection, their foes were very angry, Neh. 4:7. They realized they had lost some control of the area, fueling their anger into taking destructive physical action in the form of coming and fighting against Jerusalem so as to trouble it, Nehemiah 4:8 NIV.
    2. Nehemiah responded to such a dire threat with prayer and extensive protective vigilance, Neh. 4:9-23:
      1. First, Nehemiah and his supporters prayed to God for His wisdom and help, Nehemiah 4:9.
      2. Second, Nehemiah took steps to provide extensive protective vigilance against any type of destructive action the conspirators could possibly exercise against him and the workers, Neh. 4:10-23 (as follows):
        1. The rumor of an attack produced three effects that harmed the wall project: (1) it led the workers to focus on the large amount of rubble they encountered in rebuilding the wall so that they felt they would not be able to finish it, Neh. 4:10. (2) Their foes spread word that they would make a sudden, surprise attack to demoralize the Hebrews to cease their rebuilding work, Neh. 4:11. (3) Also, "Neighboring Jews repeatedly urged those who were building to leave their work and return home to protect their families (v. 12)," Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Nehemiah 4:10-12.
        2. In response, (1) Nehemiah positioned the unprotected Hebrew families behind the most vulnerable parts of the wall -- behind its lowest and most open places, so the workers were left to defend their own families if an attack came there in order to spur them to fight fiercely, Neh. 4:13. (2) Nehemiah also charged the Hebrew leaders and people not to fear their foes, but to recall God was great and awesome, and (3) to fight to protect their brothers, sons, daughters, wives and homes, Neh. 4:14.
        3. Israel's foes realized that though they had superior force, their first wave of attack was going to pay too high a price from such highly motivated Hebrews to make the attack worth the effort, Nehemiah 4:15a. Thus, the conspiracy failed, and the workers returned to their work, Nehemiah 4:15b.
        4. However, Nehemiah took far more measures in protective vigilance, Neh. 4:16-23: (1) He assigned half of the workers to build the wall and the other half to stand in armed guard, Neh. 4:16. (2) Even those who worked had a weapon in one hand while working with the other, Neh. 4:17-18a. (3) The man who sounded the trumpet to marshal the forces stayed with Nehemiah so he could always control Israel's entire defense, Neh. 4:18b. (4) Nehemiah also told the people to rally to whatever point he signaled with the trumpeter so an attack from any direction could be quickly, strongly countered, Neh. 4:19-20. (5) Nehemiah had the people work thus from the first light until the stars shone to maximize their daylight hours and move the work along to lessen the long-term threat, Neh. 4:21. (6) He also had all the workers stay within the city walls as a night guard (Neh. 4:22) and (7) the workers and Nehemiah always stayed vigilant for battle, not even changing their clothes, and taking their weapons with them in even fetching their drinking water, Nehemiah 4:23 NIV.
Lesson: When threatened in their ministry effort for the Lord by destructive conspiracy from their foes, Nehemiah with the people of Israel prayed for divine wisdom and help, and took extensive measures to provide as much protective vigilance as possible toward continuing to complete God's assignment.

Application: If our work for God is threatened by even the perceived threat of a damaging conspiracy, may we pray for God's wisdom and help and exercise extensive protective vigilance as did Nehemiah to anticipate any kind of trouble that can arise so that we can complete God's assignment for us!