On My Weapon

The common laborers carried on their work
with one hand supporting their load
and one hand holding a weapon.
Nehemiah 4:17b NLT
___

A couple years ago a dear friend of mine introduced me to a method of goal-setting that produces resiliency; it’s called a Spiritual Resiliency Action Plan. It was the first plan I had ever participated in that incorporated four areas of goal-setting to be used interdependently for the deepest impact. The method has the potential to make huge, lasting life change, but only if you use it correctly. After three years of using it in all the wrong ways, I felt confident that resiliency may already be in my nature. However, it goes by the name “stubbornness.” Over and over again, I found myself loyal to goals I had set, but they had strayed further and further from me. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.

Until I met Nehemiah.

Nehemiah is the next book in the Bible after Ezra and it reads like a detective novel – I actually struggle with stopping to make my study notes about it before moving on to the next chapter! Nehemiah worked for the government in the fortress of Susa as a cup-bearer for the king. His job was to ensure the safety of the food and drink that the king would be served. However, when he got word that the project of rebuilding God’s country was not protected, his heart revealed a calling. He was broken by the vulnerable state of Jerusalem; the wall around it was still in ruins, leaving it in great danger and disgrace. He took a sabbatical from his job and went to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall.

The critical difference that I saw was in how Nehemiah responded to the times where things got tough. Eventually, the process got far enough along that surrounding enemies felt threatened and responded with taunting and attempts at war. Each time, Nehemiah’s first response was prayer. Secondly, he equipped his rebuilding teams for resiliency with a brilliant strategy.

The common laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm. (Nehemiah 4:17b-18)

He didn’t fear the challenges that would come, nor would he allow his team to be afraid. He prepared them that trouble would come and God would deliver them. They were to vigilantly continue working with an offense (the task of repairing the wall) and a defense (the weapon at their side).

In this world, there will be trouble. Trouble doesn’t indicate a lack of love from God, it indicates the kind of world I’m living in and the reason I need God! Just like Nehemiah, my heart is mourning a problem in our world that I want to help repair. In the pursuit of answering this calling God placed on my heart, there will be trouble. So, I will respond with courage and resiliency as Nehemiah did:

  1. PRAYER.
  2. One hand on my weapon: I will continue to read and apply the Bible to my life daily with God’s help.
  3. One hand on my task: I will stubbornly, lovingly rebuild my “wall” one day at a time.

___

Dear Lord, I am amazed at how you allow us to carry your Holy Spirit and your will within us. I am in awe of how you let me be a part of your plan. Thank you for giving me the desire to rebuild what is broken in your world so that your kingdom may replace the order of this world a little more one day at a time. Let your plan flow unrestricted through my feeble ways. Amen.

 


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About messyworship

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I believe that you can bump into God outside of a Sunday morning church service. That is what Messy Worship is: a written meditation with an authentic, transparent take on the Bible's application to today's world. This is where I challenge myself to blurr the line between "life" and "worship" so much that the line disappears a little more each day. I hope, by sharing what I learn, the idea of a seamless life of worship becomes contagious.

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  1. Author Image

    Emily,
    What a great devotion to start the New Year! One of my 3 “future me” items from Jason’s sermon has to do with starting my day with scripture (my weapon). Just curious…what would you consider an example of a “wall” in a persons life? Relationships, work struggles? Maybe a future blog could be about which wall to tackle first ? (haha) I guess thats where prayer comes in! Thanks for your inspiration 🙂

    Kathy Borchard / Reply
    • Author Image

      That’s an awesome “future me” item!!! I like that you start your day out with it, too – I get distracted so easily when I put it off. An example of a wall, eh? That’s a tricky one because most times, people consider walls to be made up of things we should eliminate. In Nehemiah’s case, the wall being rebuilt was a Godly calling and task. So, if I were coming at that question from Nehemiah’s approach, my “Jerusalem” would be my faith/my relationship with God. My weapon would be the promises in scripture that help me combat the lies the devil tries to sell me. My wall would potentially be a more fully encompassing “weapon.” What protects my relationship with God on a larger scale? My Christian Community, my daily Bible reading and application, how (and why) I care for my body, Sabbath rest, etc. That’s how I would define a wall based upon Nehemiah’s use of a wall.
      I have to think a little longer about the other kind of “wall” – the kind that keeps me from my relationship with God. Actually, just as I was typing that, God showed me a big one that I can DEFINITELY talk about in one of my next blogs! Thanks, Kathy – you are such a huge blessing to me. I love how you think!

      messyworship / (in reply to Kathy Borchard) Reply

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