Nehemiah 4:6-5:13; 1 Corinthians 7:33-40; Psalms 33:1-5; Proverbs 11:27
OT: “When our enemies heard that we knew their scheme and that God had frustrated it, every one of us returned to his own work on the wall. From that day on, half of my men did the work while the other half held spears, shields, bows, and armor. The officers supported all the people of Judah, who were rebuilding the wall. The laborers who carried the loads worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. Each of the builders had his sword strapped around his waist while he was building, and the one who sounded the ram’s horn was beside me. “…Wherever you hear the sound of the ram’s horn, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us!”” (Nehemiah 4:15-18, 20 CSB)
When the nations surrounding Jerusalem heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt, they conspired together to attack the workers on the wall to bring a stop to the progress. When Nehemiah learned of the threat, he posted armed guards around the wall and thwarted the enemies’ plans. As an answer to any other threats, Nehemiah armed all the workers and had half of the workers take a shift on the wall, while the other workers stood guard. That way, work would continue as they remained vigilant against attacks from their enemies – trusting that if an enemy did attack, God would fight for them.
When we come into the kingdom of God though faith in Christ, we simultaneously enter into the work of the kingdom and the war against the enemies of the kingdom. Our work is seeing souls saved and disciples made. Our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of the kingdom of darkness. As faithful disciples of the Lord and citizens of the kingdom of God, we are called to enter into our kingdom work, outfitted with the armor and weapons of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18). We faithfully do the work that our Lord has called us to do as we remain vigilant against the attacks of the enemy. We do all of this in an attitude of worship trusting that as we are faithful and obedient to the Lord, our God will fight for us.
Psalms: “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the lyre; make music to him with a ten-stringed harp. Sing a new song to him; play skillfully on the strings, with a joyful shout. For the word of the Lord is right, and all his work is trustworthy. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.” (Psalms 33:1-5 CSB)
This psalm was most likely written in response to a glorious victory over the enemies of Israel. The psalmist called all the people to rejoice in the Lord. The Hebrew word for rejoice means to be overcome to the point of vibrating with joy, and sing and shout with joy as a result. This isn’t just a “yay God” kind of shout, but a reverberating shout that causes everything around to resonate with this sound. The psalmist goes on to say, Yadah the Lord (fanatically lift up thanks and praise, zamar to the Lord (play music and sing praises), compose fresh songs from the abundance of your heart, and play amazing music as you shout in victory. Why does the psalmist call the people to make such a raucous scene? Because God proved His word to be right and His works to be completely faithful and true. Those who honor the word, will and ways of the Lord can rejoice because He loves righteousness and justice and manifests His checed (zealous mercy and faithful, covenantal love) to those who walk in His righteousness and justice.
If this is what the Old Testament people of God were called to, how much more should we, who are recipients of the new, better and living covenant that was sealed with the blood of Christ. In Christ, we are ever victorious over our enemies and should resonate with the joy of that truth and live our lives in worship to our victorious King moment by moment, day by day, for eternity.
Prayer: Lord, Your word teaches that I am to both engage in the work of Your kingdom while simultaneously engaging in warfare against the spiritual enemies of Your kingdom. I thank you that I can do both of those in confidence knowing that You will grace me for the work and equip me for the battle. Remind me daily to gird myself with the armor You provide and remain victoriously abiding in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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