Nearly a hundred years had passed since the first return of refugees to rebuild Jerusalem under Zerubbabel. The temple had been rebuilt, but the wall of the city of Jerusalem had not. If Judah was going to be a respectable political entity, her capital city would have to be a respectable fortress.
Nehemiah was just the sort of leader God’s people needed. He divided the work between some forty work crews organized by common interests (people who had the same trade) and geography (people from the same towns). Rebuilding was a community effort. A man and his daughters took responsibility for one section of the wall. Some Jewelry makers took responsibility for another. Though few seemed to be professional builders, they learned on the job and dedicated themselves to the task. This is the way the Lord’s work is done best.
Opposition was sure to rise – and did. Sanballat was the governor of Syria and in charge of the area. He no doubt feared Nehemiah’s authority was a threat to his own, so he frustrated the work with ridicule, threats of invasion, attempts at assassinating Nehemiah, and he preyed on the fears of the people of Jerusalem. But Nehemiah held them together by reminding them they were engaged in a great work. They kept their eyes open, armed themselves against trouble, but pressed on in the task God had given them. In fifty-two days, the wall, at times eight feet thick, was finished.
Working for God will never be easy. Satan is indefatigable in his opposition. But nothing done according to the will of the Lord can be stopped if those who do it trust in Him.