Intense Family Environment
My family has been blessed by the Air Force with several overseas assignments, and has thoroughly enjoyed these opportunities to explore new territory, learn new languages, and experience different cultures. Our recent assignment in South Korea, however, proved to be quite a paradoxical experience. For in this country of majestic mountains, delightful people, and savory food, we lived in the midst of barbed wire and missile defense systems, with fighter aircraft circling overhead and constant readiness exercises, complete with around-the-clock alarms and simulated fire fights. Airmen and soldiers in Korea are highly trained and “ready to fight tonight.”
Having lived in this intense, ready-to-fight type of environment for two years, I can relate at least a little bit to God’s people in Nehemiah’s time as they sought, under duress, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Even though Nehemiah was backed by the King of Persia in leading this rebuilding endeavor, the local governors adamantly opposed him and the work on the wall, through both verbal assaults and covert attacks on the workers. The builders’ strength was failing, and the magnitude of the job was overwhelming (Neh. 4:10). In an effort to inspire the workers to hold their ground, to not give up in the face of this intense opposition, Nehemiah issued a rallying cry: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes (Neh. 4:14).” Then Nehemiah armed the workers and put them on a constant state of alert so that they would be ready to defend themselves when the enemy attacked. And in this way they labored until they finished the wall.
Today, we may not live in a war zone. We may not be required to work with one hand while holding a weapon in the other. But our families are under attack. Our enemy is not necessarily physical; our enemy is, nevertheless, very real. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12).” Modern families face an onslaught of worldly ideology from television shows, movies, music, books, and the internet, very conveniently delivered to each family member’s handheld device. Cultural trends dictate parenting methods, clothing styles, and popular leisure activities. Families are often reduced to the status of hamsters in a wheel, running madly from one child’s club sports to another’s scouting activities, rarely eating meals together, constantly distracted from fulfilling God’s purpose for them.
Fight For your Children
As Christian parents, it is vital that we first recognize and acknowledge that our families are indeed being attacked, and then that we take action to defend our children and our homes. It is also important, however, to not live in fear, but to live in faith, to “remember the Lord, who is great and awesome (Neh. 4:14).” God has historically fought for His people (Ex. 14:14, Deut. 3:22, Deut. 20:4, Ps. 18:39, Ps. 27:1-3) and remember--“he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)!”
Stay tuned for subsequent posts in this series, which will discuss specific ways modern-day parents can respond to Nehemiah’s call:
Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.