Giving Thanks

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For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands. – Nehemiah 6:9

When we begin Nehemiah 6, the oppression has ceased, and the wall is miraculously nearing completion. The people of God have persevered, and victory is near. But their enemies haven’t given up. In fact, Sanballat and the gang are back and more determined than ever.

Nehemiah could have looked at the situation and decided there was no way the wall would get built without bargaining with his enemies. He could have compromised. He could have acted from a place of fear and made idols of self-preservation, comfort, and safety. He could have. I might have.

But the term "self-preservation" is an oxymoron. It leads only to decay. Only God can preserve. Nehemiah knows this. He is on guard. He is wise. He refuses to walk away from the work God has laid on his heart, and because he stays focused on His Father’s business, he doesn’t fall into the many traps laid by his enemies. He trusts that as he continues the work, God will be faithful to bring it to completion. And God – ever faithful to His Word and ever benevolent toward His people – does exactly this.

Many of you have been moved to action lately. You’ve heard the call of God to pick up your tools and build. You are walking in faith, in obedience to what God has for you. Praise God! He is working through you to build His kingdom on earth!

So remember this, friends: no man – no enemy – can thwart God’s purposes. Sanballat never had a chance. Nehemiah knew this. Do you?

When you are faced with opposition – temptation to sin, the brokenness of our flesh and this world, doubt, a desire to self-preserve, apathy, illness, suffering – don’t compromise! Don't fall prey to the ironic idols of self-preservation, comfort, and safety, as I have many times. Be about the Father’s business – continue to build, continue to worship, continue to love, continue to stay humble, continue to be thankful! He is faithful to bring to completion what he begins! 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:6-11

May we be people who thank our God for His goodness and faithfulness this week and every week. May we remember that even in our suffering, the God of all grace who has called us to Christ, will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us, now and forevermore. Now, O God, strengthen our hands and bring to completion the work which You have begun. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

With great love and joy,