And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 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 armour; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. – Nehemiah 4.15-18
The Seabees are members of the US Navy whose primary focus is construction. Seabees comes from the initials CB (construction battalion). They are now the United States Naval Construction Forces.
When they were first started the Seabees were not armed. They simply went into war zones to build roads and runways and all manner of construction projects. Obviously it was a dangerous job. Eventually though it was too costly to protect the Seabees with armed troops so the Navy decided to start giving them weapons. They literally dug ditches and drove equipment and hammered nails with weapons in their backs or on their belts.
There is a great film titled ‘The Fighting Seabees.’ The leader was played by John Wayne.
What does that have do with the Jews building the walls of the city? Just read the passage above.
The builders on the wall were faced with an enemy trying to stop them. Just like the Seabees of so many years later some of the men built while others were prepared for war. And, just like the Seabees, some did the building while they had swords strapped to their sides.
I am reminded about the dual nature of our work as the church. Our battle is both physical and spiritual. While we are doing God’s work we had better be prepared to the battle. The only difference is that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal weapons. We fight the battles with pure heart and clear consciences and holiness.
Build God's church by preaching the gospel and loving others. Fight the world, the flesh, and devil through spiritual preparedness. That’s our task.
By the way, wouldn’t John Wayne have made a great Nehemiah in a film?