The most bitter opposition, the boldest threats of the enemy, seemed only to inspire Nehemiah with firmer determination, and to arouse him to greater watchfulness…

Beside Nehemiah stood a trumpeter, and on different parts of the wall were stationed priests bearing the sacred trumpets. The people were scattered in their labors; but on the approach of danger at any point, a signal was given for them to repair thither without delay. Then the priests sounded an alarm upon the trumpets as a token that God would fight for them. “So we labored in the work,” says Nehemiah; “and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.” Those who lived in towns and villages outside Jerusalem were required to lodge within the walls, both to guard the work and that they might be ready for duty in the morning. This would prevent unnecessary delay, and, furthermore, would cut off the opportunity, which the enemies would otherwise enjoy, of attacking the workmen as they went to and from their homes, or embittering with prejudice or discouraging by threats.

Nehemiah and his companions did not shrink from hardships, or excuse themselves from trying service. Neither by night nor by day, not even during the brief time given to slumber, did they put off their clothing, or even lay aside their armor. “So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that everyone put them off for washing.”

Nehemiah was engaged in an important work, one which concerned the prosperity of the cause of God. Every effort previously put forth to accomplish that work had failed because of a lack of true faith and union of effort among the Jews. The Samaritans, disguising their enmity under a pretense of fidelity to the king of Persia, had succeeded in causing a discontinuance of the work. The zealous and true-hearted among the Jews had again and again been disappointed in their purposes. But in the strength of God, Nehemiah determined that the adversaries should not again hinder the work. The despisers of the God of heaven should be disappointed. Their Satanic policy could not succeed if the people of God would bar the doors against the enemy, and work harmoniously to carry out the divine will. The foe could not enter unless the gates were thrown open by traitors within.

If we are but loyal and true, every attack of the enemy will lead us to a firmer reliance upon God, and to more determined effort to carry forward his work, against all opposing influences.

Lessons from the Life of Nehemiah by Mrs. E. G. White pp. 42–44 (SW April 26, 1904, Art. A)