Day 5 - Nehemiah 6:15-16, 9:1-3

Our Obedience and God's Glory

In times of struggle, it can be hard for us to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fortunately, the Bible offers us a glimpse of this light in the lives of those who answered His call. Nehemiah’s mission to build a wall ends up bringing glory to God in profound ways that were hard to see in the midst of the struggle. We get to see a victorious Nehemiah at the end of chapter six.

15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

The wall was finished in 52 days. Can you imagine a construction project being completed in so short a time? Now remember Nehemiah didn’t have any of the equipment we have today, the wall wasn’t a small structure, and he had all kinds of opposition. The result was so shocking that those who opposed Nehemiah couldn't argue the fact that the project was overseen by God himself.

Just like Nehemiah, we must have the courage to stand and obey God’s calling. We must also see that faith and prayer are very much worth our time. Nehemiah was blessed to see the results of his obedience and the power it had over his enemies. Through obedience God’s glory was seen by the masses.  An incredible thing (the wall being built) was done, and God’s power was seen through it.  What an encouragement this should be! In light of this, consider these questions:

Where am I struggling to obey God? What do I need to remind myself about God in order to obey Him more faithfully?

What’s amazing is that Nehemiah’s story doesn’t end with the construction of a wall. So much is seen in God changing the hearts of people groups and nations because of his commitment to the project God called him to. One result of this is found at the beginning of chapter nine:

1 On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. 2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. 3 They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.

Because of Nehemiah’s display of obedience, an entire nation sees the error of their ways. They gather together and mourn for their wrongdoing, while also enjoying the fullness of life that his word and worship bring. Even in the act of confessing sin, there is a reason to praise God. His glory is shown by the understanding of our own sin and the realization of his marvelous ability to forgive. All of this flows from the obedience of a single man tasked to build a wall. 

The story of Nehemiah should be a great reminder for us that God’s glory is worth our commitment in the struggle. It’s even more pressing when we are able to see its transforming effects on those around us. This leads us to ponder the question:

How can my obedience affect those around me for God’s glory?

Our ultimate goal should be to give God glory in everything we do. Nehemiah allows us to see that even in the toughest situations, God is at work and our commitment to this goal is still possible.

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