Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices.
The Israelite remnant had returned from captivity to Jerusalem and Judah. While they had been gone, other people had taken the land and weren’t happy to see the Israelites return. The Israelites could have hidden or tried to appease the other peoples. Instead, they followed through with what God desired of them. Despite their fear of the people, they built an altar and sacrificed to the Lord.
When Nehemiah started rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem, their enemies taunted and mocked the Israelites. As the Israelites progressed in their purpose, their enemies made plans to attack. In Nehemiah 4:4 he describes how half the men worked on building the wall and half the men stood ready with spears, shields, bows and arrows. The Israelites could have stopped work and hidden. Instead, they followed through with what God desired of them. Despite their fear of the people, they built the wall.
I’m starting a project that may have potential controversy. Part of me is scared to do it. I fear criticism. I fear negative responses. I fear being misunderstood. I fear ostracism. I fear pouring my heart and energy into something that could lead to rejection.
It would be easy to let my fears consume me and keep me from this project. It’s easy to say that what others say or think about me doesn’t matter. It’s another thing to not let those things affect me. I believe this project to be purposed by God for my life, yet I could still let my fears rule. Instead, I hope I can say, “Despite my fear, I fulfilled the purpose God set for me.”
What does God desire of you? What fears hold you back? What do you need to do to not let those fears stop you?