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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Marketing 101: A Wrench in the Works, Conclusion

     The two wrenches are beginning to have an effect on the weary laborers as Chapter Four progresses. They are afraid and tired. They see the job as way beyond their own abilities and failure seems to be staring them right in the face. Over and over they express concern for their safety. Nehemiah responds but, probably, not the way the people might have wanted. He just divided the workers into labor and security. Some would work and some would stand guard. Things got pretty bad and soon even the laborers were working with a trowel in one hand and a weapon in the other. But, still, they worked on! Fear was an ever-present companion but it did not stop them from doing the work. They would trust their God to protect them, as well as to give them strength. I think that Nehemiah is such a good example of practical praying. In Chapter Six verse 9 we read:
“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’”

Nehemiah knew just where to go for what he could not do for himself! God can and does strengthen us when we ask, just as He did for Nehemiah.

     Well, you can read the details of the rest of the story for yourself if you just continue reading but the gist is that the wrenches never gave up their efforts to create fear in the hearts of the people. They tried and tried to draw Nehemiah away for a “meeting” but Nehemiah saw through their plan to take him out and just never left his post at the wall. Once they even sent him a letter that had not been sealed, which meant that everyone could read what was written on the letter, accusing him of planning to overthrow the king, take his place and appoint people as prophets to declare that it was the will of the Lord that Nehemiah should be king. Treason, of course, and such an offense could get the authorities to kill Nehemiah for Sanballat and Tobiah! God was faithful to protect Nehemiah; nothing happened to him. The bad guys hired a prophet to try to get Nehemiah to sin against God in a sly way but he saw through their plan and refused. Still, Nehemiah continued directing the work and praying while the people carried on the construction on the wall.
     Jump down a bit in the sixth chapter of Nehemiah and let’s wrap up the “wrench in the works” part of this story. Chapter Six records the happy ending to the construction phase of the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

Beginning with verse 15:“So the wall was completed… in fifty-two days.”
Wow and Amen! Continuing on to the response of those who had opposed the work as found in verse 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.”

Well, that was for sure and what a major bit of rejoicing must have been going on amongst the workers that even their enemies recognized that God was on their side! God will often use that wrench in our works to help us to grow in our reliance on Him! Such a thing does not bother God one little bit.
     If you think that this is an isolated incident in Scriptures, back up a few books of the Old Testament and check out II. Kings 19 where King Hezekiah has a letter from Sennacherib that is of a similar vein to this story we just discussed. King Hezekiah takes the letter and lays it out before the Lord. Something like, “Do you see what they are saying about you, Lord? It is true that the Assyrians have conquered all of the other people and their gods had not been able to deliver them. Now they are ridiculing you, most Holy God. What are you going to do about it?” You can read King Hezekiah’s “prayer” in II. Kings 19:14-21, if you would like to know more.
     Actually as you read the Bible, you might want to look for the other wrenches, too. Just as is the case with our own lives, the Bible is full of examples of a wrench in the works of whatever God asks His people to do! It is comforting to know that God is also right there to strengthen our hands, as we walk/work through our mission.

***Have a good weekend!

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