Did you play the game “Red Rover” when you were a child? You would stand arm-in-arm with your friends and declare to the team standing opposite of you, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Susie right over.” At which time the person named would come charging towards you with the goal of breaking through your linked arms. They would be looking for the weakest link in your chain, so the more tightly you held on to the people beside you, the better chance you had at surviving the force of their charge. If they successfully broke through, they could “steal” one of your team’s players and bring them over to the opposing side. But if they didn’t break through, they joined your team. In the end, the team with the most people linked arm-in-arm won.
When I read the story of Nehemiah, I noticed something that made me think of this game. Nehemiah had come back to Jerusalem and rallied the people to join forces and rebuild the wall. Once they had been assigned their tasks, they got busy rebuilding despite some powerful opposition. As Nehemiah is going through the names of the people working on the wall, he keeps repeating the phrase, “Next to him…”. One person was busy on his section of the wall. Then next to him another group was busy working on their section. Then next to them… And so on. A dozen times Nehemiah points this out and as I read it, I pictured a group of God’s people linked arm-in-arm standing against the opposition while they accomplished God’s will.
The story of Nehemiah and the childhood game of “Red Rover” are examples of how we as Christians should be when it comes to standing against opposition. As Jesus’ return draws closer, Satan is going to be fighting harder. He knows his defeat is inevitable and he will continue to send onslaught after onslaught our way with the hopes of breaking through. He is looking closely for the weakest links in our chain and when he sees disagreement, gossip, criticism, and condemnation among the people of God, that is precisely where he will attack.
Link arms with your brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot allow so many things to divide us. We should not be divided by race, nationality, worship style, denomination, and so on. We must agree on the non-negotiables of the Bible, chiefly the deity of Jesus and the fact that salvation is found in Him alone, and present a united front against the devil’s tactics. When we remain linked together in unity, we will add people to our ranks not lose them!
And like Nehemiah, regardless of the opposition that may come our way, we can confidently declare:
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” – Nehemiah 4:14