Nehemiah 3-4: Beware! When Being Attacked, Pray and Give it to God

Back in 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida. I witnessed something I’d never seen before — neighbor helping neighbor, strangers helping strangers. If a tree had fallen on a house, a guy with a chainsaw just came and started cutting it up. There were many scenes like that. We were all victims. We were all neighbors. Today’s chapters reminded me of that. We worked, we served, we prayed, we sweated, we helped — together — just like the Jews rebuilding the wall around the holy city. Let’s dig in…

Nehemiah 3 – Rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem

Map of Jerusalem's city walls. image by Sweet Publishing from, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Map of Jerusalem’s city walls. image by Sweet Publishing from, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Then Eliashib the high priest and the other priests started to rebuild at the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set up its doors, building the wall as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and the Tower of Hananel. People from the town of Jericho worked next to them, and beyond them was Zaccur son of Imri.

The Fish Gate was built by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid the beams, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars. Meremoth son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz repaired the next section of wall. Beside him were Meshullam son of Berekiah and grandson of Meshezabel, and then Zadok son of Baana. Next were the people from Tekoa, though their leaders refused to work with the construction supervisors.

The Old City Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid the beams, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars. Next to them were Melatiah from Gibeon, Jadon from Meronoth, people from Gibeon, and people from Mizpah, the headquarters of the governor of the province west of the Euphrates River. Next was Uzziel son of Harhaiah, a goldsmith by trade, who also worked on the wall. Beyond him was Hananiah, a manufacturer of perfumes. They left out a section of Jerusalem as they built the Broad Wall.

Rephaiah son of Hur, the leader of half the district of Jerusalem, was next to them on the wall. 10 Next Jedaiah son of Harumaph repaired the wall across from his own house, and next to him was Hattush son of Hashabneiah. 11 Then came Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-moab, who repaired another section of the wall and the Tower of the Ovens. 12 Shallum son of Hallohesh and his daughters repaired the next section. He was the leader of the other half of the district of Jerusalem.

13 The Valley Gate was repaired by the people from Zanoah, led by Hanun. They set up its doors and installed its bolts and bars. They also repaired the 1,500 feet of wall to the Dung Gate.

14 The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Recab, the leader of the Beth-hakkerem district. He rebuilt it, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars.

15 The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallum son of Col-hozeh, the leader of the Mizpah district. He rebuilt it, roofed it, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars. Then he repaired the wall of the pool of Siloam near the king’s garden, and he rebuilt the wall as far as the stairs that descend from the City of David. 16 Next to him was Nehemiah son of Azbuk, the leader of half the district of Beth-zur. He rebuilt the wall from a place across from the tombs of David’s family as far as the water reservoir and the House of the Warriors.

17 Next to him, repairs were made by a group of Levites working under the supervision of Rehum son of Bani. Then came Hashabiah, the leader of half the district of Keilah, who supervised the building of the wall on behalf of his own district. 18 Next down the line were his countrymen led by Binnui son of Henadad, the leader of the other half of the district of Keilah.

19 Next to them, Ezer son of Jeshua, the leader of Mizpah, repaired another section of wall across from the ascent to the armory near the angle in the wall. 20 Next to him was Baruch son of Zabbai, who zealously repaired an additional section from the angle to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 Meremoth son of Uriah and grandson of Hakkoz rebuilt another section of the wall extending from the door of Eliashib’s house to the end of the house.

22 The next repairs were made by the priests from the surrounding region. 23 After them, Benjamin and Hasshub repaired the section across from their house, and Azariah son of Maaseiah and grandson of Ananiah repaired the section across from his house. 24 Next was Binnui son of Henadad, who rebuilt another section of the wall from Azariah’s house to the angle and the corner. 25 Palal son of Uzai carried on the work from a point opposite the angle and the tower that projects up from the king’s upper house beside the court of the guard. Next to him were Pedaiah son of Parosh, 26 with the Temple servants living on the hill of Ophel, who repaired the wall as far as a point across from the Water Gate to the east and the projecting tower. 27 Then came the people of Tekoa, who repaired another section across from the great projecting tower and over to the wall of Ophel.

28 Above the Horse Gate, the priests repaired the wall. Each one repaired the section immediately across from his own house. 29 Next Zadok son of Immer also rebuilt the wall across from his own house, and beyond him was Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the gatekeeper of the East Gate. 30 Next Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section, while Meshullam son of Berekiah rebuilt the wall across from where he lived. 31 Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the wall as far as the housing for the Temple servants and merchants, across from the Inspection Gate. Then he continued as far as the upper room at the corner. 32 The other goldsmiths and merchants repaired the wall from that corner to the Sheep Gate.

Nehemiah 3 NLT

Nehemiah 4 – Enemies Oppose the Rebuilding

Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”

Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”

Then I prayed, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders.”

At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm.

But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.

10 Then the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.”

11 Meanwhile, our enemies were saying, “Before they know what’s happening, we will swoop down on them and kill them and end their work.”

12 The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” 13 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows.

14 Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”

15 When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. 16 But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. The leaders stationed themselves behind the people of Judah 17 who were building the wall. The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. 18 All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.

19 Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, “The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. 20 When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!”

21 We worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset. And half the men were always on guard. 22 I also told everyone living outside the walls to stay in Jerusalem. That way they and their servants could help with guard duty at night and work during the day. 23 During this time, none of us—not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water.

Nehemiah 4 NLT

Working Together, Side-by-Side

Nehemiah was the new Joshua. But rather than tear down the walls of Jericho, they’re building up the walls of Jerusalem. I love how everyone worked together and picked a section of the wall to rebuild. Why does it take a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake for people to come together?

Pastor Sandy Adams comments on how Jerusalem’s walls reflects the Christian faith…

The Christian life starts at the Sheep Gate – embracing Jesus as our sacrifice.
Next is the Fish Gate where we become fishers of men. At the Old Gate we learn the unchangeable truths of the Bible.

At times we’re by the Valley Gate and need encouragement. Invariably, we end up at the Refuse(Dung) Gate where we have to toss out some garbage from our lives. That’s when we find the Holy Spirit’s refreshment at the Fountain Gate. And are cleansed by the Word at the Water Gate, and find strength at the Horse Gate.

The journey continues until Jesus returns. When He does, He sets His foot down on the Mount of Olives and enters the Eastern Gate where He judges the nations – the Inspection Gate. Embedded in Nehemiah 3 you find a wall-to-wall account of the whole Bible.

Sandy Adams

Then Comes the Opposition

Why is it always when things are going so well, that bad stuff happens? Satan’s strategies are always the same…

  • intimidation
  • infiltration
  • isolation

Satan’s favorite targets are the cracks in our foundation. They are the openings — eyes and ears. If we have them focused on worldly things, that’s how we give Satan a foothold. All he needs is a tiny hole, a tiny crack and the cancer starts spreading.

Give it all to God

That’s when we have to turn the enemy over to God.

  1. Pray
  2. Immerse yourself in the Bible. Study it daily, listen to it, obey it and apply it to your life.
  3. Purify what you watch, read and listen to.
  4. Get plugged into a church with Bible-believing, born-again, brothers and sisters who can guide you, help you and be there for you.

Where’s the Good News?

Again, I turn to the folks at Spoken Gospel

Israel’s prophets promised that after Jerusalem’s walls were ruined, God would build them back up (Isaiah 44:26). The prophet Zechariah pictured a day when God would surround his city like a wall of fire. He would live in all his glory with his people (Zechariah 2:5). Rebuilding the walls didn’t just keep Israel safe from their enemies, the walls secured their proximity to God. 

We should all want a city with walls like that—a city that keeps us completely safe and close to God’s power and presence. That city has been secured by Jesus. Jesus has thwarted the plans of the enemy. And like Nehemiah, he has armed his people to the teeth (Ephesians 6:10-11). God’s city is now being built in and through us (1 Peter 2:4-5)! And one day soon Jesus will come in fire and live with his people in all his glory.

Jesus’ final city won’t be cobbled together out of burnt rubble, but built from precious stones and metals (Revelation 21:18). The gates will be cut out of boulder-sized pearls and emeralds (Revelation 21:21). The symbolic point is that Jesus will spare no expense in the provision and protection of his people. And the best news of all is that the gates along this heavenly wall will never be shut (Revelation 21:25). In God’s coming Kingdom there will be no enemies, no threats, no danger, and no schemes that will take us away from our eternal proximity and home with Jesus.

Spoken Gospel

That is our Confident Hope! That’s what keeps us born-again believers going amidst all the evil in the world. Without that hope of a wonderful place — too beautiful and awesome for words — we couldn’t go on.

Jesus told us Himself…

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14:1-7 NLT


Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion! He died so He could have a Personal Relationship with YOU!

Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart -- let Him in!
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart — let Him in!

What are you waiting for?

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Broken Things

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

The Days of Elijah

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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