The book of Nehemiah is inspiring because it shows there is no limit to what can be achieved in serving the LORD when there is dedication. “The people had a mind to work” (4:6) to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem despite the opposition of Arabs such as Sanballat, who when he “heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered … ‘What are these feeble Jews doing?’” (verses 1,2).

The account Nehemiah is uplifting. The people relied on their own strength and on the LORD “each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built” (verse 18). Nehemiah said to the nobles, officials and the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us” (verses 19,21).

And our work for the Lord “is great” as is our hope. 1 Thessalonians 4 wonderfully portrays this describing the time when “the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet …” (verse 16) with the result that “the people (who have) a mind to work” for their Lord with whatever talents they have, “who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (verses 17,18). Paul repeats those last words in his final chapter, showing the importance of this advice, “encourage one another and build one another up” (verse 11).

The last verse of Hosea’s prophecy adds a fitting conclusion to our thoughts, “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them”.