If you have ever done a life guarding course you will be familiar with the warning that when attempting a water rescue the life guard must be wary of the panic stricken swimmer. If the swimmer is drowning, their nervousness could be fatal not only to the swimmer but also the rescuer. It is only when the swimmer reaches a point of surrender that the life saver can intervene in a safe and effective way. The only way for the swimmer to be saved is to become a powerful weakling.
Neh. 4:10 In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.”
The builders of Jerusalem are tired. You can feel the atmosphere of growing misgivings and unnerving rumours surrounding the pressures of rebuilding. The rebuilders can be heard saying, “I’m exahusted. There is just too much rubble. There is no way that we will be able to finish this task by ourselves.”
This language is not the language of quitters, it is the language of a tired company of builders wanting to see the reward of their labour. They want to see the project completed, but they are aware of their own limitations. Their strength is not enough. They require assistance. They need reinforcements. The only way they will be powerful is if they admit their weakness.
Years later, you can hear Mary sing a song similar to this plea for help.
Luke 1:51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
God did not turn a deaf ear to the people of Judah. He sent help in the form of the countryside labourers. He sent a prince from a far off land to win a fight that no one thought was winnable. Nehemiah would be the rescuer that the people of Israel would need. He would be their reinforcements. Years later God would send another prince and rescuer in the powerful weakness of a Carpenter. He would rebuild the ancient ruins that no one else could.