1:1-2:18 – ‘You see the trouble we are in’ – How do you react when the going gets tough? Do you collapse in despair and succeed only in making your troubles seem even bigger than they really are? There is a better way of dealing with our problems. Believing that ‘the hand of his God was upon him for good’, Nehemiah looks at the problem – ‘Jerusalem lies in ruins’ – and sets about solving it – ‘Come. let us build the wall of Jerusalem’ (2:17-18). Our problems may be great. Our God is greater. When your problems threaten to overwhelm you, remember this: God has ‘redeemed us by His great power and His mighty hand’ (1:3-6,10). There is no greater problem than our sin and God has dealt with that problem – Christ has ‘put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself’ (Hebrews 9:26). ‘Pack up your troubles’ and take them to Jesus!
2:19-4:23 – Serving the Lord is not easy. There are always those who ‘mock and ridicule’ the Lord’s servants (2:19; 4:1-3). What are we to do when we encounter this type of thing? We must pray to God and we must work for Him – ‘The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we His servants will arise and build’ (4:4-6; 2:20). When we face determined opposition from the enemies of Christ and His Gospel, we must pray and we must be practical – ‘we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night’ (4:9). We need to know our God – ‘the people who know their God will be strong’. We need to know our enemy – ‘we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming’. When Satan comes to us, we must be ready for him and we ‘must firmly resist him’ – in the Name of Christ (Daniel 11:32; 2 Corinthians 2:11).