They were all trying to frighten us
“Their hands will get too weak for the work
and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed
“Now strengthen my hands.”
Intimidation is a weapon that many use to get their own way. Those who wield it more often than not aim for those they consider to be either weak or in a position of weakness. Today, many believe that Messianic Jews and Gentiles (Christians) are in a position of weakness because the proponents of secularism have gathered the like-minded together to denounce Messianic Judaism/Christianity in every way while exalting all other religions.
But Nehemiah not only had to address outside intimidation tactics designed to get him to stop rebuilding Jerusalem’s city wall, he also had to address what his own wealthy countrymen were doing to their working poor who were helping to rebuild the wall:
You are exacting usury from your own countrymen! …
What you are doing is not right.
Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God
To avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies?
I and my brothers and my men are also lending
The people money and grain.
But let the exacting of usury stop!
Give back to them immediately
Their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses
And also the usury you are charging them –
The hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil.
-Nehemiah 5:7b, 9-11
So intimidation wears many disguises and is used by those both inside and outside of the faith. For those who continue to be faithful to their calling and who are being besieged from within and without, take heart. Nehemiah, our example, shows us the only answer to be employed, prayer – for strength to continue that which we have been called to complete in spite of our enemies efforts to stop the work; and wisdom to deal with those of our own, who like the worm destroys from the inside out, demanding endless streams of money (brow-beating tithes/gifts/love offerings/free-will offerings/church building funds ad nauseum) from the working poor in such dire economic times, instead of giving to them in a time when they need relief.
Nehemiah relied on God for wisdom and strength and the usury stopped and the wall was built. If you want strength to carry on and you want to see change in the church, pray likewise.
The Lord is coming!