THE TROWEL AND THE SWORD
Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 3-4
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Key Verse: Nehemiah 4:6
So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
Those who opposed the building of the wall tried to stop the project in several ways. Firstly, they used ridicule, mocking the vision of the Jews. Secondly, when their indignation had turned to anger, they conspired to use violence against the Jews. The response of those who had God’s vision for the wall was to have “a mind to work,” to make “our prayer to our God,” and to “set a watch against them [their enemies] day and night.”
In doing the will of God for our lives today, let us work hard, pray hard, and watch carefully for enemy activity. Why do we fight the fight of faith? Yes, for our own futures, but as 4:14b tells us, we fight for our families, “our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters [also for those in other families who have no one to fight for them], our wives [husbands] and our houses.” The imagery of a trowel (the work) in one hand and a sword (the protection of daily reading God’s Word) in the other hand, is powerful. A complimentary New Testament reading could be Mark 10:28-31, where we are promised by Jesus 100 times more in houses, brothers, sisters, etc. The best results come from doing God’s will in spite of opposition.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I pray for daily strength to work diligently for Your cause, and to stand on guard against all attacks on Your great purposes for my life and that of my family. In the Name of the Carpenter who said, “I will build My Church,” and “I make all things new,” Jesus, Himself, Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
In Canada’s national anthem we repeat several times, “We stand on guard for thee.” This brings to mind a story from my Dad and his partner in guard duty at Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario, during WWI. Private Mainse and Private Hawley were on night duty walking the circumference of the Fort outside the walls. They would meet, salute, turn about face and walk the opposite directions until they met again. Each time they met they would each quote a sentence from the Bible which they had memorized the day before. The son of Private Hawley, Martin Hawley, confirmed this story to me not long ago. Both Privates became Generals in my books. It’s no wonder that they both were called of God into His service. They became ordained ministers of Christ.
The last building project in which I was involved was the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ontario (picture below). The building houses 143,000 square feet of TV studios, offices, a restaurant, and convention facilities. I invite all our readers to visit. I traveled to a quarry in Muskoka to choose the great stone you see pictured outside the entrance. The Scripture below the stone says, “Thus saith the Lord: stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for the ancient paths where the good way lies, and walk in it, and find rest for your souls!” Jeremiah 6:16 (NRSV).
Yours for having “a mind to work” and “rest for your souls” and “to not be afraid,”