What does it say?
Sanballat the Samaritan and Tobiah the Ammonite became angry; therefore, they mocked the Jews who were rebuilding the wall. Nehemiah prayed to the Lord because the people were demoralized, they continued to rebuild and the wall was joined together to half its height. Sanballat, Tobiah and the other people of the land conspired to come and fight against Jerusalem; therefore, they prayed to the Lord for protection, stationed guards night and day, and Nehemiah spoke encouraging words to the Jews in the Lord. The Jews continued the rebuilding project and each man had his sword at his side ready to rally together at the sound of the trumpet. Day and night each man remained in Jerusalem, didn’t remove his clothing, and kept his sword with him at all times. Some of the people cried out because their Jewish brothers were taking advantage of them, taking their property and putting them in bondage for food. Nehemiah scolded those who were charging interest to his brother and requested that they give the people back their fields, each man promised to return each his field, requiring nothing for them. Nehemiah was appointed governor of Judah but did not tax the people as previous governors had done but feed the people who gathered at his table at his own cost. Sanballat with the other governors of the land accused the Jews of planning to rebel against the king and accused Nehemiah of planning to become king of Judah, but Nehemiah told them that this was not true; therefore, he prayed to the Lord to strengthen his hand. Tobiah the Ammonite and Sanballat the Samaritan hired a false prophet Shemaiah to trick him into sheltering in the temple which would give the appearance that he was exalting himself as king. It took only 52 days to complete the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem, this discouraged the other peoples of the land; therefore, Tobiah the Ammonite sent letters to frighten Nehemiah.
What does it mean?
Threats and discouraging words abound in this world. We must trust in the promises of God in Jesus Christ and observe all that he commanded. Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth. He has commissioned the church to go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the triune God and teaching them to observe all that he commanded. (Mt. 28:18-20) The enemy does not like this and will use fear to discourage and will also try and discredit our intentions. We must not become discourage or be tricked into unrighteous actions out of fear.
What shall I do?
I confess that I have been discouraged. Nearly one year ago I graduated with a Master’s degree in Theological Studies and felt a desire to teach; particularly, pastors who do not have access to formal theological education. I began looking into theological education in the mission field. Eventually I became a partner with Biblical Training Center for Pastors and was set to begin training pastors with another man who had been doing theological education in Cuba for twenty years. I went there for a 1 week seminar in September of 2019 and was very encouraged. I then rearranged my life and work so that I could go to Cuba and teach 3-4 times a year. We were to return to Cuba in December but were denied visas by the Cuban government. We were to return again in April but the man who had been doing this ministry developed an inner ear problem which gave him vertigo. Then this corona virus came about shutting down all international travel. I shall not be discourage but will continue reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching them his word while praying that the Lord opens up opportunities.