The greatest works attract the wickedest opposition. And there are few works greater in this life than building and protecting your family.
Facing opposition. The families of Israel in Nehemiah’s day faced scoffing from other nations (Neh 4:2-3), serious threats of violence (Neh 4:10), and even discouragement from other Jews (Neh 4:12) as they pursued the good work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
Yet, despite all this, we read an amazing phrase (just two words in Hebrew) in verse 6: “So we built the wall.” They did not listen to the mockers, let fear of violence stop their hands, or be swayed by the conciliatory words of their brethren. Instead, they persevered in the work and built the wall.
Protecting our loved ones. Chivalry calls us to build a wall too: a wall of protection around those under our responsibility. (Chivalry is Christian servanthood and calls for true sacrifice for Christ!) Just like those brave Israelites who returned from Babylon and built a wall to protect their city, their families, and God’s temple, we are called to surround those “under our wing” in a barrier of safety. Chivalry demands we protect anyone weaker than ourselves. This starts with our family (those closest to us), whom we’ve been given a divine commission to protect. (1 Timothy 5:8)
A chivalric person chooses to be a wall against harm for those he loves. He stands against people who intend physical harm. He stands against people who try to harm their emotions or taint their spirits. He even stands against want in their lives (in the case of a spouse and kids) by being their provider.
Stand firm. “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). The verse from Nehemiah especially reminds us that we need to stand firm. We build the wall. Despite mocking voices, bullying from people outside the church, or gaslighting from people in our camp, we build the wall. We declare, “You’ll go no further! You’ll have to go through me to get to them.” Study ways your loved ones need defending. Stand up in their defense in any and every way they need you to. Be on the lookout for dangers.
Persevere in action. It’s plain from this verse that a wall was built. Israel didn’t merely talk about building. They also didn’t build half a wall and then quit. They didn’t content themselves with a metaphorical wall. They built a wall. Be practical in the defense of your family. Don’t just study it or talk about it: do what needs to be done to protect those under your care.
Be that wall for the ones you love. Be their watchtower, their protector! And always remember: God is with you. “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11). He is the ultimate wall abutted against your own and protects those you love with a love greater than you can ever know.