Fear, in this case, can be defined as distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat, or impending danger.
Despite the presence of fear, Nehemiah never lost sight of his God or his homeland. He was concerned for the city of Jerusalem, which was lying desolate and the gates destroyed. He did his job and he honored the king whom he served, but he still had his eyes fixed on what I believe the Lord had put on his heart, to go home and rebuild the city. He had thought about it so much he had a plan prepared and ready to release as soon as the king asked, “What can I do for you?” (Neh. 2: 6-9).
But the enemy of all who love God was not happy with the favor on Nehemiah or the plan to rebuild. He did all he could to stop this work. The one thing that stood out to me over and over was the fact that the enemy tried to stop the work from the very beginning through fear. But each time Nehemiah met that fear and quite literally refused to receive it. He prayed and he pressed on in another kind of fear, Fear of Lord. Fear of the Lord means to be in awe or reverence of God.
He quietly did his inspections (Neh. 2:12-13), he would not give in to the fear that the wall was not sturdy enough (Neh. 3-4), and he would not give in to fear when the enemy was planning to fight against them (Neh. 4:8-9). Over and over the pattern repeats itself, the enemy tries to raise fear and Nehemiah responds in prayer and pressing on toward the goal. Because the leader was so confident of the work God had for them and would not give in to fear and intimidation, the people did not give in to fear either. Of course, he did have to encourage them and address the fears by preparing for war, but he also reminded the people that they did not need to be afraid but rather “remember the Lord who is great and awesome”. The result of all of this was the people had a mind to work (Neh. 4:6), the wall was rebuilt (Neh. 7:15) and God was honored as the people read His word, repented and recommitted themselves unto the Lord (Neh. 8-10).
Why do I share all of this? As I reflected upon this I realized the enemy does the same thing to us. We can be at the forefront of a blessing or in the midst of what we know is a God assignment and we allow fear to overtake us. We fall into doubt, unbelief and we lack faith. I am challenged as I review this book to look fear in the eye and refuse to allow it to rule me, distract me or discourage me. Rather I am challenged to seek the Holy Spirit as to how I should respond, in other words first of all PRAY. Perhaps God would have me speak and press on toward the goal. Perhaps He will reveal something I did not know or He may tell me to be still and wait on Him. Whatever the next step is I know it is NOT to give in to fear and give up. The God we serve is the same God Nehemiah served. Dear ones, He is GREAT and AWESOME, He is FAITHFUL!!
Be blessed as you serve Him, with your sword (Bible) in one hand and with your other do the work the Lord has set before you.