With the Help of Our God
“And when all our enemies heard of it,
all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem,
for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God .”
~ Nehemiah 6:16
I wish I were as brave as Nehemiah. As a child I remember a Sunday School teacher asking me what scared me. With great enthusiasm I remember boldly responding, “nothing.” A solid Sunday School answer to be sure. It is amazing how these kinds of memories stay with us. With time, and perhaps some wisdom, I can look back and know how easy my life was to answer in such a way. I was an oblivious child--completely dependent upon my parents and yet so loved and cared for by them that nothing scared me. My father protected and provided for me.
When I consider God’s people in Nehemiah’s day, I wonder if my bold answer would have so quickly been “nothing.” The story of Nehemiah is quite nerve-racking. It had not been that long since Israel had been invaded and exiled to foreign lands. The protective defenses of Jerusalem had been laid bare. God’s temple had been ransacked and destroyed, and His people were scattered, seemingly defenseless to the whims of foreign pagan kings. Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem with the knowledge that the surviving Israelites were in great trouble and that the once protective walls remained in a state of dilapidation.
Nehemiah knew the story of the destruction of Jerusalem. He was besought by persistent problems both internally and externally. There was famine, internal oppression, and external opposition and jeering by the surrounding nations. It would have been easy for Nehemiah to become consumed with fear, but Nehemiah also knew the character and promise of God. Instead of being consumed by continued desolation, Nehemiah resisted fear because he had a Father, one who protects and provides for His children.
As we prepare for this fall, there are many potential fears on the horizon. It may feel like the walls of fellowship and connection are a bit dilapidated, and yet, there are kingdom-focused opportunities. One of these opportunities is to focus on intentionally building fellowship and connection. Over the last few weeks, we have shared some details about Connect small groups. Our Session is encouraging you to prayerfully consider ways the Lord might use a small group in your life. These small groups are shepherding opportunities in which our goal is to have relationships deepened together in Christ.
Would you prayerfully consider signing up for a Connect group? Our Connect group listings will be made available to the congregation on our website beginning Sunday, August 15. If you have any questions about this new aspect of our shepherding ministry, please email me at As Nehemiah’s story directs us, kingdom building work is a great task, and it is one that can only be accomplished with the help of our God.
~ Jake Bennett