“So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16
Had the neighboring nations perceived that the work had been accomplished by man, it would have been to the glory of “Nehemiah” or perhaps “team work” and “determination.” Those nations would not have been afraid, they would have been encouraged in their own efforts. They would have thought: the Jewish community had the grit to endure hardship and they pulled it off! The enemies would have been inspired by the rebuilding of the wall, thinking there is no limit to what we can achieve if only we work hard at it. This is what worldly motivational speeches teach: “You can be and do anything if you work hard at it!” Not so for us Christians: We can do all things... through hard work? through team work? through determination? No... through Christ Who strengthens us! Hard work and determination are all good things, but they come as a by-product of Christ strengthening us. The rebuilding of the wall had a supernatural element, which could only be attributed to God.
Why were the neighboring nations afraid? Because they perceived that this work had been done by God, and they were not on His side. On the twenty-fifth day of Elul, the wall was finished. Centuries later, another work was finished: the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
As the nations were afraid seeing the wall rebuilt, so were the centurions who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ: “So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54
As the wall was the protection of Jerusalem, so is Christ a wall of protection to all those who repent and believe in him. In Christ, we are safe from the fire of God’s wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.