The topic of “discipline” generally makes us cringe, because we focus on its punitive aspect. God disciplines every one of His children for their good. So much of discipline is positive, for shaping us to resemble our Lord. Biblical Discipline is only one mark of a healthy church, but it is an important one.
Nehemiah points out the biggest threat, coming from within their own people, as disregard for God’s instruction on how to treat one another. The spirit of the law can be as important as the law itself. Certainly all people need encouragement and the “golden rule”, treat others the way you want to be treated (Lk. 6:31), is a great way to do that.
Nehemiah Ch. 5 reveals another threat to the people of God and the wall project too. This threat comes from within our group, within ourselves, and is none-the-less an attack by the Devil against the work of God. There is a great outcry and numerous difficulties cited, though the basic problem is a disregard for God’s Word and our failure to love others as we love ourselves.
Though we can expect opposition in this world (if we are living in obedience to the Lord), we can move forward with God’s help. We are not ignorant of Satan’s tactics and our God is powerful, giving His people victory through faith, prayer, and encouragement through His Word.
Nehemiah has been praying for the right time to address the king about rebuilding the city walls where his ancestors are buried. God grants him compassion before the king and the project is approved and even materials are provided. We always find Satan opposing any good work of God, and sure enough some local officials are unhappy that Nehemiah has arrived with authority to help the Jews in Jerusalem.