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The Conspiracy of Trouble-Part 4 (When challenges Multipy be Ready to make Sacrifices)

Rev. Enoch Thompson | November 17, 2023 | Nehemiah 4:21-23


Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water. Nehemiah 4:23 (NIV)


Every project and undertaking exacts some amount of sacrifice. You might have heard the saying, NO PAIN, NO GAIN! I agree with this thought.

Unfortunately, there are many people, even Christians, who think that they can have the best without lifting a finger. A prosperity gospel, which is no Gospel at all, has given many people a false notion of Christianity being an armchair religion, a couch potato life in a cruise ship, piloted by God, in which even the goodies available are placed in the mouth of a cuddled batch of spoilt children.

Christianity is a call into the Kingdom of God, to enter the abundance of God’s many blessings, to have life and to have it abundantly. A true walk with God will bring us into a life of divine provision, divine protection and divine propelling. Praise God for these blessings in which, by His grace, many of us are walking.

But the truth must also be told that the enjoyment of the many benefits of the Kingdom requires us to take some pain and make some necessary sacrifices. Our text for reflection today can be summarised in one word, “sacrifice.” The reconstruction was work enough, but the many threats to the project required that some people be present to give a human presence to watch the project overnight to prevent the enemies from pulling down at night whatever the builders had put up by day. As a good godly leader, Nehemiah set the example and asked his compatriots to do the same. Sleeping at the wall construction site was not going to be as comfortable as sleeping at home in one’s bed surrounded by one’s family.


Do you feel the call to sacrifice for Kingdom expansion? This might be in terms of your time, expertise, or money. What about the moral choices that require that we deny ourselves of attitudes, behaviour and pleasures that are inconsistent with the expectations of our God and Father? Let’s determine to make Kingdom sacrifices for Kingdom progress.


Dear Father in Heaven, you sacrificed your only begotten Son to bring about my salvation. I pray that you grant me the grace to make all the sacrifices needed in my faith journey. Please release the spirit of sacrifice upon your Church so that we can be motivated to imitate the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ and follow in his steps. In Jesus’ dear Name, Amen.





The Hebrew term used in Nehemiah 4:23 for "took off" is פָּשַׁט (pashat). This verb carries the idea of stripping off, putting off, or laying aside. In the context of Nehemiah 4:23, it's used in the sense of not removing their clothes, emphasizing their continuous readiness and alertness to defend themselves and their work on the wall. The workers and guards remained vigilant, even while fetching water, by keeping their weapons with them. The use of פָּשַׁט underscores the commitment to the task at hand and the serious nature of the threats they faced.

In biblical contexts, the term "פָּשַׁט" is used both literally, referring to physically taking off garments (e.g., Genesis 37:12), and metaphorically, symbolizing a stripping away of honour or dignity (e.g., Hosea 2:9).

The Hebrew term "פָּשַׁט" (pashat) in Nehemiah 4:23 reflects unwavering dedication as the builders and guards, even while fetching water, refused to disarm, highlighting their commitment and vigilance against potential threats during the task of rebuilding the wall. This teaches us about:

  • Constant Readiness: Nehemiah's men maintained a continuous state of preparedness, ready for any potential attack or threat, exemplifying spiritual alertness.

  • Strategic Preparation: Their approach reflects strategic preparedness, both physically and spiritually, emphasizing the importance of being equipped for life's challenges.

  • Unity and Cooperation: The collective vigilance of Nehemiah and his team underscores the significance of unity. Together, they were fortified against potential dangers.

With this word study, we are therefore called to:

  1. Spiritual Alertness: Drawing from Nehemiah's example, we are called to cultivate spiritual alertness in our lives. What spiritual "weapons" can we keep close at hand?

  2. Strategic Preparation: Nehemiah's strategic readiness teaches us about being prepared in all circumstances. We must practically equip ourselves for life's challenges, ensuring we are armed with the necessary tools.

  3. Unity and Cooperation: Reflecting on the unity among Nehemiah's team, there is a need to foster unity and cooperation in our families, communities, and churches for mutual support during challenging times.


How can we, like Nehemiah and his men, maintain a constant state of readiness, spiritually and practically, ensuring we are armed with the necessary tools for whatever challenges life presents?

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