We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work.
When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repairs of the walls of Jerusalem were going so well - that the breaks in the wall were being fixed - they were absolutely furious.
They put their heads together and decided to fight against Jerusalem and create as much trouble as they could.
We countered with prayer to our God and set a round-the-clock guard against them.
But soon word was going around in Judah, The builders are pooped, the rubbish piles up; We're in over our heads, we can't build this wall.
And all this time our enemies were saying, "They won't know what hit them. Before they know it we'll be at their throats, killing them right and left. That will put a stop to the work!"
The Jews who were their neighbors kept reporting, "They have us surrounded; they're going to attack!" If we heard it once, we heard it ten times.
So I stationed armed guards at the most vulnerable places of the wall and assigned people by families with their swords, lances, and bows.
After looking things over I stood up and spoke to the nobles, officials, and everyone else: "Don't be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and then fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes."
Our enemies learned that we knew all about their plan and that God had frustrated it. And we went back to the wall and went to work.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)