A Study on Nehemiah 4:12

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By Noelia Loomis

Question: Why did Chapter 4:12 “When the Jews who lived by them came they said to us ten times, “From all the places where they live they will come up against us”. Do you know what this means and why ten times?

Remember, Sanballat and Tobiah were deeply disturbed that Nehemiah had come to seek the well being of the children of Israel (as the elect, this is our duty also – Rom 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.). They made fun of Nehemiah and the men with him who were willing to help rebuild Jerusalem. These mockers said:

Neh 4:2 “And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?”

Neh 4:3 “Now Tobiah the Ammonite [ was] by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.”

Perhaps we should be asking these questions of ourselves to make sure that we are not growing too large in our own imaginations.

Rom 1:21 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [ him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

2Co 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

In the account, Nehemiah tells the story ‘So we built the wall and the entire wall was joined together up to half of its height for the people had a mind to do the work.” Nehemiah. 4:6

You see, Sanballat and Tobiah and the others’ conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem(us) and create confusion(verse 8) nevertheless we made our prayer to our God and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.’

This scripture, like the Bible is, was, and will be. Right now, this is also happening to the body, has happened in the past and will happen in the future.

Psa 50:12-15 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is Mine and all its fullness. Will I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.”

There will be mockers and bullies whose goal is to have the work stop. As we read the account, we can see that the mocking and threats did have an effect on the laborers.

Neh 4:10-12 “Judah said the strength of the laborers is failing and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall and our adversaries said “ they will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.”

Ecc 3:3 says “To everything there is a season, a time… to break down and a time to build up;”

This is a time to build and a time to be awake. We can not build up if we are asleep! If behooves us all to know where we stand. As a sister in the Lord said recently: It is false humility to say: “I haven’t taken sides”. Does the truth ever sit on the fence? Jesus said “he who is not for me is against me”.

Rom 13:11 “And that, knowing the time, that now [ it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [ is] our salvation nearer than when we believed.

Our enemies are round about us, even among the flock, “F or I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Act 20:29-30.

This is the time to watch and watch, and watch again and always because the enemy wants nothing more than to attack and create confusion!

Neh 4:12 “So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times‘from whatever place you turn they will be upon us’

The beast within has ten horns!

Rev 13:1 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”

We are completely carnal made of the dust of the earth. Of ourselves we can do nothing more than to fulfill the needs of this fleshly nature and display the fruits of the flesh…selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy…(Gal 5:17) But it is in realizing that we are carnal (- enmity against God- that all have sin and fall short of His glory), that we are made aware that our need for Christ daily.

The knowledge that we have a Savior is not enough. Being given grace to pardon our sins is not enough; there is the chastening aspect of grace that also must be fulfilled in us. Having a measure of faith does not cut it either nor having gifts is reason to boast. We have to produce fruit! (2Co 9:10 “Now he that ministeresth seed to the sower both minister bread for our food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness” and Php 1:11 “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”) We have to go all the way and endure till the end (Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.).

We have to be called, chosen and faithful and if we are the called and chosen and faithful then all these (knowledge, grace, faith and especially the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit) will be increasing in us daily. Christ will be manifest in us and there will be no guessing because people will know that we are His through the fruits (Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.). As the fruits show up there is also pruning taking place so that we can produce more fruit (Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh awway: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgesth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.). In other words we are constantly growing in the grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is made clearer each and every day.

Gen 1:29 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [ is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [ is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”

Ezekiel 36:30 “And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.”

Mar 4:28 “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.”

The calling is not for us only.

2Ti 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called [ us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

1Ti 4:10 “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”

We are called for the benefits of all others and are “…the survivors who are left from the captivity in the province… in great distress and reproach…”(Neh 1:3)

Therefore, we also ‘set a watch against our enemies and position men ( all members of the body) behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings and with their swords, spears and bows.”

Don’t think for a moment that because we have come to see some of the truths of God, we can take a break, let our guard down, think that we’ have already apprehended.

Php 3:12-14 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [ this] one thing [ I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Neh 4:10 is a warning for us today- a warning to watch- for ‘ from whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.

God does want to revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish- stones that are burned (Neh 4:2) But there (were) are (and will be) those, even within the body, that conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Thereby, we are to set a watch against them day and night! “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians5:14).

And why were they told 10 times

  • Because as the beast we have 10 horns (10 times for the 10 horns that we have) (Rev 13:1)
  • ten is the number of completeness in the flesh – the law for the lawless (Deu 4:13, 1Ti 1:9, Rom 8:3)
  • 10 plagues to teach us to forsake ungodliness in return for having tempted God 10 times (Num 14:22).

The number of times that we tempt God is not complete yet. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”1Co 10:12

As our brother Mike says, ‘the flesh is completely bankrupt- totally incapable of ever paying of its sins’. Neh 4:12 shows us that we shall suffer persecution and tribulations as long as we are flesh (10- signifying completeness in the flesh). In the book of Rev 2:10 it says “…ye shall have tribulations ten (10) days” that is you shall have tribulations your entire lives but look at this, Christ tells us “ be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.”

We watch that we may continue in faith (that is why we need one another so much – we need to bear one another’s burdens and encourage each other to run the race with endurance – Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.). God does not lie!

Num 23:19 God [ is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [ it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

It is through much tribulation that we enter into the kingdom of God.

Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

In the meantime, Christ tells us to “Occupy till I come” (Luk 19:13). This does not mean “Now take a break, you deserve it!” On the contrary, it means that we must do the works that He has called us all together to do!

2Pe 1:10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Build Jerusalem! Revive the stones! Invest the talent! Gain 10 more talents that the Lord may say to us:

Luk 19:17Well, thou good servant because thou hast been faithful in a very little have though authority over ten cities.”(What great task awaits us- we get to take the world through the same process of conversion bring all to Christ)

We must never forget that finally entering into the Kingdom is the result of Christ being completely in us. The flesh will only take us for far. It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing!

Mar 10:21then Jesus looking at him, loved him, and said to him‘one thing you lack. Go your way, sell whatever you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come take up the cross and follow Me

Mat 13:46Who, when he had found one pearl of great price (Christ), went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

We are to carry our cross! Buy the pearl of great price! Follow Him daily! Trust in Him with all our hearts.

Pro 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Php 1:6“Then He who has begun a good work in you, will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

‘So we ( Nehemiah recounting the story) built the wall and the entire wall was joined together up to half of its height for the people had a mind to do the work.” Neh 4:6

Why half it height? Because it is CHRIST living in us that causes the wall the be built to its full height. The wall will be built! (Rev 2:12, 21:2) The process will be complete, and we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye at the sound of the last trumpet.

1Co 15:52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Interesting! When Nehemiah came to Jerusalem he was there three (3) days! (Neh 2:11). Likewise, we must stay three days to go through the maturation process in Christ!

It is our responsibility to:

2Ti 2:15 “ Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Php 1:10 “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;”

May the Lord permit us together to endure daily, have patience daily and present our bodies daily as a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is our reasonable services (Rom 12:1) and at the same time, that He may help us to watch for‘from all the places where they live they will come up against us!

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