Sometimes we think that God only works through miracles. But he works through all kinds of normal, everyday things. Faith doesn’t mean waiting for the miraculous. It means trusting God enough to take action. Faith isn’t faith unless it’s faith in action.
1. Faith with a Body
Walking by faith in Christ requires we take steps, not in our minds, but with our bodies. Faith in action means doing real things in the world in obedience to God. If we believe Psalm 24:1, we will glorify God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
2. Prayer Reveals Hope
In the face of opposition, Nehemiah didn’t fight fire with fire. He prayed and set a guard (Neh. 4:4, 9). His hope wasn’t in circumstance or power, but in God.
3. Obedience Brings Opposition
Israel’s obedience to God brought opposition (Neh. 4:7-9), just like it did for Noah, Gideon, Joshua and Caleb, and, above all, Christ as he hung on the cross.
4. Christianity Is Both/And
We think the life of faith is either faith or action. But this is wrong. Nehemiah (4:15-20) both trusts God AND takes the necessary precautions to protect his people. Just as Philippians 2:12-13 teaches, Christianity is both/and.
5. Faith Fuels Obedience
Faced with threats of violence, Nehemiah calls the people to “Remember the Lord” (Neh. 4:14). Trusting God gives us the power and motivation to obey him.
Reflection & Application Questions
Do you believe that God owns you (Psalm 24:1; 1 Cor. 6:19-20)? How does Nehemiah demonstrate belief in God’s authority in his life?
How should God’s ownership of you change the way you think and live?
What does Nehemiah’s prayer reveal about where his hope is? What does your prayer life reveal about your hope?
Have you experienced opposition due to obedience to God? When? What was your response to this? Why should we expect opposition in our lives as Christians?
Why is it easier to think of Christianity as either/or rather than both/and (Phil. 2:12-13)? Why is it important to recognize it is both/and?
How did faith fuel Jesus’s obedience?
Why is it so important to let our faith rule our emotions and imagination? How can we learn to do this?