For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
In the process of building the wall of Jerusalem and doing a great work for the Lord, Nehemiah and his countrymen ran into some severe opposition. There were men who didn’t want to see the wall rebuilt. There were men who didn’t want to see anyone doing a great work for the Lord. Then, as now, there were people who just didn’t have any desire to see anything done for the Lord.
Over time, this opposition grew from insults and mocking to vehement hatred and threats. As they will do to the best and strongest among us, these threats “made us afraid.” They said that “their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done.” Nehemiah and his builders had been working many days and, no doubt, were starting to feel some physical weakness creeping in. The thought that their hands would be weakened and they would fail was likely a cause for fear.
When our hands get weak (as they are going to do), there is but one real choice: turn to the Lord and His strength. That is just what these men did. They prayed a prayer that is just as good and relevant now as it was then: “O God, strengthen my hands.” That is a wonderful and simple prayer that we probably need to pray more often than we realize.
The Israelites’ hands were strengthened and they finished the work. When we feel weakness creeping up on us (probably every day), it is the Lord who can give us strength!