Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears, and bows. (Nehemiah 4:13 NIV)
The enemies of Israel said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” (Neh. 4:11 NIV)
The threat of secret attacks caused fear in the hearts of the wall builders. Fear is contagious and paralyzes others. Nehemiah was not afraid of the enemy because he knew God was powerful enough to meet the challenge. But he also knew the fear of the people, and devised a defensive plan to encourage the hearts of his workers and confound the enemy.
Nehemiah’s first step was to post guards at the weakest points along the wall. The enemy could see that the Israelites were prepared. He armed entire families, knowing that they would stand together and encourage each other. Each family worker repaired the section of wall nearest his home giving them a greater sense of accomplishment. He reminded everyone of the awesomeness and greatness of God.
Nehemiah was a great strategist. He may have been the first leader to use shifts to keep the work moving forward. Half worked during the daylight hours, and then switched places with the people who were guarding the work, so that they could take over the night shift. He also devised a method of signally the troops to gather at any spot of trouble. When they heard the sound of the trumpet everyone came running to the battle point.
When the enemy learned that the workers were armed and ready, they backed off (Neh. 4:15). God had frustrated their plan. The Psalmist tells us, “The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the LORD’S plans stand firm forever, his intentions can never be shaken.” (Psalm 33:10-11 NLT)
The church of Jesus Christ is only as strong as its leadership. For this reason, we need to be in constant prayer for those in positions of leadership, asking God to give them a strong faith and wisdom to guide his people. Prayer is one of our most powerful weapons in the battle against Satan and his adversaries.