Verses 1-3: Sanballat and Tobiah were probably governors of neighboring regions and had become rich and powerful by exercising control over Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Therefore it would make sense that they were opposed to the Jews rebuilding the walls and Jerusalem becoming a powerful city again. These verses show both the men and the army that was with them doing everything they could to discourage the Jews. Unfortunately for them, the king of Persia was supporting the rebuilding of the wall so they could not attack the Jews with their army. Its obvious though that these men were enemies of God and His people and were serving the plans of the devil.
>John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
Verses 4-5: Nehemiah was coming to the Lord in prayer over the insults and discouragement and relying on God to take revenger rather than putting it in his own hands. I can totally relate to asking the Lord to take his revenge on some evil, but is it ok to pray that God won't blot out and forgive their sings? Praying that the Lord will forgive someone that has sinned against you in obviously not a normal reaction, but is it ok to pray that He won't?
Verse 6: I LOVE that Nehemiah said the people worked with all their heart. It is so special to hear words of encouragement from a leader about his people.
>Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."
>Ephesians 6:7 "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free."
Verses 7-8: Again Sanballat and Tobaih were angry with the Jews progress and had rallied up the Arabs, Ammonites and the men of Ashdod to plot evil together.
>1 Peter 5:8 "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
>Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
Verse 9: A great mesh of prayer and action. They "prayed to our God" and then "posted a guard day and night to meet this threat." They had faith the Lord was on their side and would protect them but also took physical actions to protect themselves.
Verses 10-12: I can relate to the people of Judah on these verses. It shows their faith wavering, their strength giving out and their fears creeping in. I so often give in to my fears, or physical discomforts or discontented attitude. I can be so quick to loose faith and I know I would have been tempted and struggled immensely like these featured Jews.
Verses 13-14: Again we see Nehemiah as a great leader. He didn't become angry with the people who were scared. He didn't scold them for not having enough faith. He did what he could to meet their concerns and then reminded them of truths and spoke encouragement. " Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." He prepared them for battle, whether or not it came for that.
>Psalm 14:6 "You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge."
>Psalm 33:10 "The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. "
>Job 5:12 "He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success."
Verses 16-23: The workers were vulnerable so necessary steps were taken to relieve some of the stresses and fears of the people. "Their precautions effectively diminished the threat of surprise attack. Interestingly, the dual assignments of guard duty and working on the construction did more than provide protection. It also gave some variety to the workers, resting them and improving their morale. Militarily, of course, the alliance of leaders mentions in verse 7 could completely surround and overwhelm the Jews, but the plotters knew Nehemiah had the support of the powerful Persian government, which they feared. Of course, the greatest protection the Jews had was God Himself, in whom they were trusting." (Quest Study Bible notes)
If you have anything to add or any questions about Nehemiah 4 then please feel free to leave a comment. I'll get back with any questions as soon as I ask someone wiser than me;) Have a wonderful day! Love, Devon