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The Conspiracy of Trouble (When Challenges Multiply); Part 1

Rev. Enoch Thompson | November 14, 2023 | Nehemiah 4:6-12


Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." Nehemiah 4:12 (NIV)


The challenges of life are many and occur at different points in the life of the human being. There are health challenges, financial challenges, relationship challenges, spiritual challenges, and other challenges. The Lord Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV). There are however times in a person’s life when tribulation does not come in single and isolated cases, but come in multiples and at the same time, as if troubles have conspired to attack.

Nehemiah and his partners in the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem found themselves where their troubles were from all sides. Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod were “very angry” that the reconstruction work was progressing (4:7). They were moved to plot to attack Jerusalem and make trouble for the builders. In verse 10 the work was proving difficult for the people of Judah because there was so much rubble to move out before putting the wall in place. In verse 11 the enemies were boasting of strategies they were putting in place to ambush the builders, surprise attack them, and kill them, with the objective of stopping the work. In verse 12 we see how fear had gripped the Jews who lived near these vicious enemies; they reported to the leadership many times over, "Wherever you turn, they will attack us." Nehemiah 4:12 (NIV).


Have you had an experience of a challenge along your journey of faith? Maybe a problem at a time has been well managed. But what do you do when the missiles are coming in from the north, south, east and west? Sometimes that is the lot of the believer, the citizen of God’s Kingdom.

Decide to be strong in the face of enmity. Do not lose your head. Do not be thrown into despair when troubles multiply, it happens.


Dear Lord, it is alarming to learn that trouble may sometimes come in multiples and would seek to destroy me. Thank you for the knowledge of that truth. I pray for people who find themselves in many challenges at this time, especially because they are following your voice and seeking to do what is right. Grant them the power to stay strong, and to keep trusting you. For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.




DAILY word study: ATTACK US The Hebrew term for "attack" in this Nehemiah 4:12 is יָשַׁב (yashab). However, the nuances of the Hebrew language often go beyond literal translations. Yashab, while commonly translated as "to dwell" or "to sit," can also carry a sense of settling in, establishing oneself, or, in this case, encamping for an attack. The choice of this word emphasizes a deliberate and menacing posture.

The term "attack" frequently appears in the Old Testament, reflecting various forms of aggression, whether in warfare or metaphorically in spiritual contexts. For instance, in Psalms, enemies often "sit in ambush" (Psalm 10:8), illustrating a readiness to attack. Understanding this broader biblical context enhances our grasp of the term in Nehemiah 4:12.

Nehemiah and the people are engaged in the crucial task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. The phrase "attack us" conveys not only a physical threat but a spiritual and emotional one as well. The adversaries, including Sanballat and Tobiah, weren't merely considering a military assault but were actively seeking to undermine the morale and determination of the builders.


As we reflect on this phrase, we're invited to recognize that opposition in our lives may take multifaceted forms. The enemy doesn't only attack with visible challenges but also through discouragement, doubt, and fear. Nehemiah's response of prayer, vigilance, and perseverance becomes a blueprint for facing multifaceted attacks.

In what ways do you see multifaceted attacks in your life, and how can Nehemiah's response inspire your approach to overcoming them?

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