“Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their Jewish brothers… ‘We are mortgaging our fields…we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery…’ So I continued, ‘What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?’…They were 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 5:1, 4, 9; 6:9, 10
Divisions within the community of faith can sap our strength and distract us from what God has called us to do. In fact, conflict, gossip, slander, and intimidation can sometimes be direct attacks by the enemy to stop the work of God. Nehemiah recognized that he needed to expose the hidden financial practices of the community leaders which were dividing the community and destroying families. Nehemiah knew that public repentance would set the community of faith free to work together once again. He also knew that the intimidation, deception, and schemes of the enemy could be a distraction if he entertained them. Instead, Nehemiah asked God to strengthen his hands for the work. He reminded the community that the fear of God would keep them from sinning. When we fear the Lord more than men, we will choose to honor him in all we do.
“Lord Jesus, expose the schemes of the enemy that distract, limit, and destroy your work. Strengthen my hands for the work you’ve called me to in the fear of the Lord.”