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Daily Devotional Nehemiah 4:15–23

I love basketball and underdog movies. That’s why Glory Road is one of my favorite films. It tells the story of Texas Western College, the first team in NCAA history with an all-black starting lineup. I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t seen it; what’s important is the enormous opposition these students overcame in order to play. Like the workers in the book of Nehemiah, they refused to give up, no matter what came their way.

Our God will fight for us!


Today’s reading in Nehemiah helps us understand the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. It shows what it means to trust God while also being fully prepared. Nehemiah presents these two concepts as both/and, not either/or. The passage starts with Nehemiah recounting that the Jewish people’s enemies knew “that God had frustrated” their plot to stop the rebuilding project, and “we all returned to the wall, each to our own work” (v. 15).

However, the Jewish people didn’t just return to the work as if everything was fine. No, Nehemiah shows both the importance of trusting in God and doing what was in their power to do. He put a plan in place to protect the people from their enemies as they worked. Half of Nehemiah’s men continued to work on the wall, while the other half armed themselves with “spears, shields, bows and armor” (v. 16). The folks carrying supplies “did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other” (v. 17). Every construction worker “wore his sword at his side while he worked,” and the trumpeter, who would sound the alarm if attacked, stayed with Nehemiah (v. 18). Thankfully, no fighting ensued, but Nehemiah assured them, “Our God will fight for us!” (v. 20). Nehemiah showed what it means to trust God fully while also preparing for adversity.

>> What does it mean for you to balance trust and preparation? Nehemiah teaches us how to prepare well and move forward in faith, even in the face of opposition!

Pray with Us

Lord Jesus, in Matthew 10:16 You told Your disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” As we strive to honor You, help us to exemplify this shrewd innocence.

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