So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. – Nehemiah 4v16
Nehemiah really was a great leader. He was not about the let the construction of the walls cease because of his opponents. At the same time the enemies posed a very real threat. Nehemiah came up with a great solution. He divided his men into two groups. One group kept working on the wall. The other group put on their armour and picked up the swords and their shields. The walls of Jerusalem were built with a sword and with a trowel.
There is a great picture here of building our own Christian lives. As I heard in a message Sunday we are to diligently build Christian lives with faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. That is our everyday work. That is our own construction work.
That is great. That is clearly how we are to build and keep building. That is the task before us and it is a lifelong priority. .
At the same time we too need to be aware of the enemy. While we have our trowels to the task of building the wall, we need to be aware that our enemy is still out there. While we are using God’s word to build our lives we need to use His word as a sword to fend off the enemy.
We can’t fight to the neglect of growth and we can’t work on growth while we neglect guarding ourselves.
The sword and the trowel – both are vital.