Nehemiah 4: Can We Use Our Minds?
Nehemiah 4 portrays what must have been a stressful time for the people of Jerusalem. Some of the area kings decided that they didn’t like the fact that Jerusalem was being rebuilt. They conspired together to go down and interfere with the building of the wall.
Here is how Nehemiah ordered the people to respond.
Neh 4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
I highlight this verse because I think that it illustrates a very important truth that I somewhat touched on when I talked about whether or not Christians should go to the doctor.
The people first decided to pray. That needs to be the first step. We need to put the situation into God’s hands and recognize that we can’t do it on our own. Jerusalem did not have their complete wall built yet, so they had very little to rely on in that regard. Their army was probably smaller than the one that was potentially coming up to challenge them. Things were not looking so good, but they knew that they needed to pray.
However, I emphasize this verse because the people did something. Did they do it because they doubted that God would actually come through? I don’t think so. If they did, they would not have prayed in the first place.
I think that God calls us to use our minds as well.
Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
God allows us to have the gift of wisdom and to use that intelligence to do things. In this case, the people of Jerusalem decided that it would be good idea to have group of watchmen.
Yes, we need to have faith in God, and we cannot do anything without God. That is why the prayer being first was important. They were willing to listen to God if He had a further command about the situation. However, in this situation, it is not as if God explicitly ordered them not to make any preparations. If He had, it would have been an entirely different situation because then we would be dealing with disobedience.
This is one of those times where people were using a gift that God had given them, in this case wisdom, to do something that was neither ordered nor forbidden by God. God has blessed us with intelligence, and it is not a problem to use it as long as we go to God first and it does not interfere with what God has commanded.