A Study in Nehemiah: Never Let Your Guard Down


Never Let Your Guard Down

By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte




Nehemiah 4:16-23 (NASB)

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.  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. As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me.  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. At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared.  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.”  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.”


In the earlier chapters of Nehemiah, we saw the enemy’s anger at the re-build project. They no longer had free access to the broken city, and began a campaign of frustration and now an all-out attack to stop the work from being completed. Today we see Nehemiah’s response.

Regardless of occupation or building task, everyone became a soldier. Each person was issued a weapon, which they kept ready with one hand and worked on the wall with the other. When they were not working, they were keeping a guard for those who were on duty. They labored, slept and ate with their sword ready. Trumpeters were assigned to sound an alarm that if any one person encountered trouble, others could come to assist.

Today we are in a time not unlike the days of Nehemiah. Persecution comes from many sides and sources. Even though the attacks from the enemy have ramped up, God has not given us permission to stop our work for his Kingdom. He never said go into all the world preaching the gospel, but it’s okay to stop when you are under tribulation, or when you feel threatened.

No, in fact, Jesus said in John 16:33 (NASB) “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” 

We need to be constantly on guard for ourselves, and we need to guard the backs of brothers and sisters in Christ. God gave us each a set of spiritual armor so that we would be able to be protected while we go about the work given to us.


Ephesians 6:14-18

“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, could also be considered clothing.”

Many pieces of the spiritual armor could also be considered articles of clothing. And like Nehemiah, we should remain clothed even while we sleep. We are to remain in our armor, and carry our weapons at all times.

What can we learn from Nehemiah?

  • As our brothers and sisters in Christ go about their work, we should endeavor to be a guard for them. Have each other’s back.
  • The sword we carry is the word of God. Have it on hand at all times and be ready to wield this weapon whenever needed.
  • When we hear the alarm sounded in our community or for those in need, be prepared to run toward the battle. This can be in for form of prayer or any way God is calling you to help.
  • Never remove our armor, always be on guard.

When Nehemiah saw the threat against those who were working diligently, he came up with a strategy to keep the people safe, while still completing the task God had given them. Even though some of the things God has asked us to do may seem daunting, if we work together, and look out for each other, we can finish the tasks God’s given us.

What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?

  1. In what area of your life have I let my guard down? How can I be the guard for those around me? Who’s back does God want me to guard?
  2. How am I at putting on and keeping on the spiritual armor? When I sleep, do I keep my armor on?
  3. When I hear an alarm from a brother or sister, do I come running to aid in their fight?
  4. How will I use this time of quiet and isolation? Spend time in fear, or spend time preparing for spiritual battle?
  5. How well do I wield the sword of the Spirit? Do I keep it with me at all times?


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