When the Babylonian exiles returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and temple, surrounding kings and generals sent threatening letters to Nehemiah, and Nehemiah writes, “For they wanted to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.’ But now, O God, strengthen my hands” (Nehemiah6:9).
The world is a chaotic place of darkness. If we stare too long and listen too hard at it, we will see the brokenness and hear the painful cries of pleasure without joy; water from a well that never satisfies (John 4:13). From this world comes taunting and distraction. “The church has become irrelevant,” they shout. “Christians are hateful bigots,” they claim. “The church is dying,” they mock while pointing to closed church buildings. The noise from the world can and is causing Christians to stumble and become silent, stopping our commanded work.
Let’s be confident. Not simply in our faith, but Who the object of our faith is. He is mighty; He is mighty to provide and He is mighty to save. Our confidence is not to be founded upon ourselves or upon the work of the church gathered. The source of the confidence of the Christian and the work of the church is to be the might of the Lord.
When the world seeks to frighten the Christian’s work of disciple-making and discipleship, trying desperately to get us to stop the work, let us pray like Nehemiah: “But now, O God, strengthen my hands.” Not by our own will or driven by inner strength, but seeking God to strengthen our hands.
Let us be like Paul, learning to have joyful obedience not dependent upon comfort, but “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
When the exiles finished building the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah tells us, “all the nations around us were afraid” (Nehemiah 6:16). Let us do Kingdom work, being confident disciple-makers using the power of God in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
O sovereign God, strengthen the hands of your servants to take the light of Jesus Christ into darkness, and grant us peace in Your presence shielded from the noise of this world. May Your Name be glorified in the work of our hands. Amen.