After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates.” (Nehemiah 2:13)
A preliminary survey to inspect the extent of the broken walls was conducted by Nehemiah three days after his arrival in Jerusalem. This was a secret mission carried out by Nehemiah and a select group of followers. Apparently, he felt it good strategy to get a first-hand assessment of the damage before confronting the Jewish leaders. A daylight survey would have tipped his hand and given the enemies Sanballat and Tobiah the opportunity to intimidate and cast threats in the faces of the Jewish people as noted in verse 11, “What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” Nehemiah correctly anticipated their outrage and defused it beforehand by his nighttime reconnaissance.
Nehemiah wasn’t the only Bible character who used the nighttime for an offensive thrust. Abram was the first person to make a night time attack when his nephew Lot was captured. He took 318 of his trained men divided them into two companies and attacked Kedorlaomer’s army. He chased them all the way north to Damascus, and rescued Lot’s family and goods.
The second person that used the cover of darkness as a means of attack was Gideon. He took 300 men equipped them with a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch inside, and stationed them on the hillside surrounding the Midianite
camp. Shortly after midnight, Gideon gave the signal and all 300 men broke their clay jars and holding their torches in their left hands blew on the ram’s horns and shouted “A sword for the Lord and Gideon.” (Judges 7:20)
Nehemiah’s nighttime reconnaissance paved the way for God’s plan to be executed. When the people heard his plans, they replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall! So they began the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18b)
These accounts teach us how important it is to be properly prepared before launching out into the fields that are white to harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38) We need to count the cost before making the commitment to follow the Lord’s will. Once the commitment is made there is no turning back. (Luke 9:62)
Thought for the Day: God is the manufacturer and we are the distributors.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help each one of us to count the cost of discipleship.
To do: Make an inspection of your life and see what areas need to be turned over to the Lord.