9 But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.
10 Thus [j]in Judah it was said,
“The strength of the burden bearers is failing,
Yet there is much [k]rubbish;
And we ourselves are unable
To rebuild the wall.”
11 Our enemies said, “They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them and put a stop to the work.” 12 When the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times, “[l]They will come up against us from every place where you may turn,” 13 then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the [m]exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows. 14 When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”
15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while [n]the trumpeter stood near me. 19 I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated on the wall far from one another. 20 At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, [o]rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from [p]dawn until the stars [q]appeared. 22 At that time I also said to the people, “Let each man with his servant spend the night within Jerusalem so that they may be a guard for us by night and a laborer by day.” 23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water.
When the threat of attack was imminent, Nehemiah had to change the plan. He received ten different reports that their enemies were plotting an attack, and he took it seriously. But he didn’t stop the work. Instead, they rallied together so that everyone was on duty. And while they may have felt separated before, Nehemiah made sure they knew that support was not far away.
Ultimately, they could have chosen just to trust God and keep building, but God doesn’t often fight our battles by himself. He wants to build us up and make us stronger, and more like him. That doesn’t happen if we sit on our hands and watch God work. No, we need to be involved, just like an apprentice to the master. We do what we can, and with God at our side, amazing things will happen.