[Today’s devotion about God fighting our battles is from the Weekend Word devotional series. Come back every Saturday for fresh insights from God’s Word, or follow my blog via email or WordPress to get my content sent straight to your inbox.]
Today’s Scripture: Read Nehemiah 4:7-20.
“Our God will fight for us!” (Nehemiah 4:20b, NIV)
I found myself standing by the water’s edge once more, watching the fall leaves float down the stream.
The scene was peaceful. I breathed in the crisp, cool autumn air while listening to the gentle sound of the flowing water meandering through the woods.
But inside, I was feeling anything but peace. I was fighting a battle I didn’t think I would win.
We all have battles we face every day. Yours may be a difficult family situation, chronic physical or mental illness, a trying time in ministry, burnout, fear, or a number of other struggles thrown at us as we live our lives in this broken world. At times, these battles seem unrelenting, and we feel like giving up.
Thankfully, we don’t fight these battles alone.
A large chunk of the Old Testament chronicles the struggles the people of Judah faced when they were deported from their land after King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to it. Exiled for 70 years, they were finally able to return home at the decree of King Cyrus of Persia (Ezra 1:1-4).
Returning to their homeland, they rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem and began rebuilding the city. Later on, Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem to begin construction on the city’s walls.
The effort to rebuild was not without opposition, however.
Sanballat and his colleagues, angered by the construction, mocked the Jews (Nehemiah 4:1-3) and plotted to fight against them (vs. 7-8). Discouraged by this opposition and the immense amount of work to be done, the Jews thought they would never be able to complete the work (v. 10).
It’s easy for us to end up in this same place. We work hard to pick up the broken pieces of our lives, only to be discouraged when another attack comes our way. The battle seems too hard for us to fight.
As I stood by that stream and considered the battle I faced, I realized how tired I was of fighting it. Small victories seemed to be constantly swallowed up by greater challenges. It was too much.
In the face of mounting challenges, Nehemiah wasn’t going to let Sanballat get the best of them. When the laborer’s strength was weak, he encouraged them to keep going, exclaiming that “Our God will fight for us!” (v. 20).
And God did. In a record 52 days, the wall was completed and the people realized that it was God who had accomplished the task (6:15-16).
As I contemplated how I would continue to face my challenges, a realization struck me: I never asked God to fight for me. I had been trying to fight out of my own strength, and I was getting tired. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep fighting forever, so still standing by that stream, I closed my eyes and asked God to fight my battle for me.
When you feel like you don’t have the strength to keep fighting, remember Nehemiah’s rally cry — your God will fight for you.
Today’s Thoughts: Have you been trying to fight your battles on your own? If you asked God to fight for you, what impact might doing so have on your life?
(The day after my prayer by the stream, I heard Riley Clemmons’ “Fighting for Me” on the radio. Give it a listen for some extra inspiration!)