by Fran Caffey Sandin
For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 ESV
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? How do they work out for you?
January initiates a fresh year, an opportunity for setting goals, and making changes. Unfortunately, my resolutions only last a few days. So, I make plans and take one day at a time, keeping in mind that God is with me, helping me to be flexible and aware of the needs of others while working toward personal goals.
The book of Nehemiah describes how, following captivity and wanderings, the children of Israel returned to Jerusalem. Having viewed the destruction, and inspired by God, Nehemiah challenged the people to rebuild the broken walls and the gates destroyed by fire. The people responded favorably and replied, “Let us rise up and build” (Neh. 2:18 ESV). They began the good work, looking to the future.
But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah, the Ammonite, and Geshem, the Arab, heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed them. Nehemiah responded to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper” (Neh. 2:20 ESV).
This was an opportunity to start something new, but already opposition had arisen against the enormous project as, one by one, the gates were being replaced and the stone wall gradually gained height. When Sanballat heard about their continuing progress, he was furious and doubted the Jews could restore the wall from all the rubble. Tobiah joined in the mocking.
Meanwhile, the priests and men were working with all their hearts, but Sanballat and Tobiah plotted together to cause trouble and fight against Jerusalem. These enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work” (Neh. 4:11 ESV).
When that news reached Nehemiah, he expressed faith to his workers, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” (Neh. 4:14 ESV). He had stationed some families with their swords, spears, and bows at the most vulnerable areas of the wall. Aware of the constant danger, Nehemiah ordered half of the men to do the work and the other half to protect them with their swords and weapons. Each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. The wall was completed in 52 days.
Victorious God! When the enemies saw what happened, they were afraid and lost their confidence.
As believers in Jesus Christ, our sword, the sword of the Spirit, is the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Our adversary, the devil, Satan, is a liar, deceiver, and makes plans for our destruction. Jesus used the Word of God to defy the devil’s schemes (Matthew 4: 1-11), and so can we.
We see the evil around us, but we fight for our families, our children, our brothers, sisters, our homes. Let us learn from Nehemiah and face adversity by expressing faith in Almighty God. We can use our spiritual sword, His Word, to defeat the evil one whose goal is to discourage and silence us. Let us stand firm in 2022. Now that’s a resolution worth making!
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Fran is a retired nurse, organist, mother, and grandmother living in Greenville, Texas. She has authored See You Later, Jeffrey, Touching the Clouds, and has contributed to thirty books. She and her husband, Jim, have traveled to many countries and states. Her latest book, HOPE on the Way, Devotions to Go— contains 52 devotionals for those who love to combine faith and adventure. HOPE on the Way was acknowledged for outstanding Christian Literature both in the Devotional and Christian Living sections by Joy and Company in Arlington, Texas. Visit Fran’s website at www.fransandin.com.
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