Rebuilding the walls.
This reading demonstrates the difficulty Israel had in rebuilding itself. While God opened the doors for Israel to return, a vigorous opposition existed. For some time while the walls were being rebuilt, some people worked and others stood guard. Life was challenging. Food was scarce; water had to be brought in; and enemies were all around. God had made it possible for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. God had made the kings of Persia favorably disposed toward Israel both financially and politically. But God did not take away all the challenges. Part of rebuilding requires faith. It requires hard work and a constant trust that God will honor his promise of a new Jerusalem. Although we have faith and live for God, we still have challenges. It is in those challenges that we learn the fullness of faith. It is in challenges that we are able to see the hand of God at work for us. Nehemiah recognizes that should an attack come the people will have to fight (4:20), but he also recognizes that God will be providing the strength and protection. Discouragement comes when opposition is present, but God is the one who provides. Trusting him as we live each day the discouragement that comes must be viewed in light of God’s work.