So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they realized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.” (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
These brief verses describe the completion of the repairs made to the wall surrounding the city of Jerusalem in 444 BC. Note that a conservative estimate of the length of the wall was roughly two miles long enclosing about 100 acres of land (K. Kenyon: Excavating 3000 Years of History), 40 ft high and 8 ft thick with 34 watchtowers and 8 gates.
When considering these dimensions, we can better understand the amazement of those who were observing the restoration of this wall from complete destruction. The Bible says that when the enemies of the Jews heard that all this work was completed in 52 days, they lost their confidence.
A modern take-away from this ancient account is that when we, as Christians, succeed in God’s service (I.E. BibleTalk.tv surpasses 1 M subscribers), it discourages evil ones, unbelievers, and scoffers. This happens because our success in and through Christ overpowers their disbelief since they can’t help but see God working through us, and for a blinding moment, breaking through the darkness that both protects and imprisons them.
Former President, George H. Bush (#41), gave out “Points of Light” awards to ordinary citizens who improved their community with personal volunteer work. As a believer, he understood Jesus’ approach to improving the world and displacing its darkness one point of light at a time (“You are the light of the world”, Matthew 5:14).
From Nehemiah, to Jesus, to a modern-day President, to an internet ministry operated by an obscure church in Oklahoma, God provides strength, courage, and a vision of faith to shine the light of truth into the night of disbelief and fear overseen by the evil one in this world. Each of us can be and should be a point of light in Christ which will discourage our enemies, and draw those who are searching into the warm brightness of God’s love and truth.
NB. For more about Nehemiah’s life, check out the new class (Ezra/Nehemiah for Beginners) in the auditorium beginning Sunday, January 7, 2024