“So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16
The wall is complete. It stands at it’s full height. There’s not a brick missing in it’s full length. Each gate is hung and every latch is in place.
No doubt the people of Israel, who’d labored long and hard to see it once again whole, are jubilant but it’s not their response to the work’s successful completion that’s recorded for us to read. Rather, it’s the emotions of Israel’s enemies, the response of all those that had plagued Nehemiah and the rest of the workers as they’d each done the work God had called them do, that Nehemiah makes note of. And “disheartened” is the word Nehemiah uses to describe their response.
It’s also important that we note the reason for their being disheartened. It’s not merely because the wall is completed. The reason Israel’s enemies are disheartened is because of how rapidly the people were able to complete the work and what that rapidity of labor meant to them.
All three miles of wall, every gate, and each door was set in fifty-two days.
Even today, with all our modern machinery, we’d be hard put to see such a task organized and executed in such a short time table.
This meant that nothing cropped up to delay the progress of the work. Fear of attack had not slowed the work in spite of Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem doing their best to intimidate the people. The people had not been lured away by personal projects and private concerns leaving the work to languish in their absence. None of the necessary materials required to keep the working moving forward had been delayed in being delivered on time and when needed.
When you think about all the things that could have happened that would have set things back and considered that not one of those potential circumstances that could have created a delay became a reality; and when you consider the scale of the project, the number of workers, and the volume of resources needed the fact that there were no significant delays is nothing short of miraculous.
God has a work for us to do. He’s called us to love the people of this world and to work for their salvation in the same way he does. We’re his voice speaking words of instruction and comfort. We’re his feet going to wherever the need is present. We’re is hands doing whatever task needs to be done.
If we, like the people led by Nehemiah, work together faithfully and unitedly, Jesus says it will show the world that we belong to God and that he loves them and sent Jesus to save them (see John 17:21-23). Like Israel’s neighbors they’ll see that work we’ve done has been done by our God.