The book of Nehemiah is an energetic, attention-grabbing story of how the people of God banded together in the midst of stiff opposition and violent rhetoric from enemies who lived in close proximity to them with some of their enemies being involved in government. As the godly Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall as a testimony to God’s glory, the anti-God crowd got so violent with their rhetoric that they conspired to violently overthrow the Jews in a bid hinder their progress and tear down all the advances they had accomplished.
Fortunately, it was revealed to Nehemiah and his crew what was about to go down so they did two things. First of all, they prayed to God for guidance. Secondly, they used their God-given common sense to take action alongside their prayers to God and that action was in the form of taking up arms for self-defense. As they fulfilled the Lord’s command to build, Nehemiah said, “…the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me,” (Nehemiah 4:18). When teams of workers were working in separate areas, they had trumpets ready to sound the alarm should an attack come so the other teams could rush to their aid.
Our times are similar to Nehemiah’s in that hateful, violent rhetoric has been spread throughout society against the saints as we gather together in obedience to God to build and strengthen his spiritual kingdom here on Earth. Active shooters targeting churches have increased significantly in the past decade. In response, many churches are no longer satisfied with being soft targets. They have decided to be like Nehemiah and his workers, praying for the Lord’s protection as they take courses to be trained in bearing arms to be prepared to deal with active shooters head-on.
Their actions are also in keeping with Christ’s warning to his disciples in Luke 22 as he prepared to send them out a second time. The first time Christ sent them, they were to rely solely on God’s provisions and the kindness of strangers. The second time, Jesus was acknowledging that times had changed from that first time he sent them out. It was time for them to not only rely on God, but also take action for themselves by being financially self-sufficient and arming themselves with a sword for self-defense (Luke 22:36). So now we see places like Omaha, Nebraska, and Bakersfield, California, where church members work with law enforcement to be skilled at armed security for their congregations.
May Jehovah’s wisdom be with churches taking these necessary steps that the saints may be delivered from “unreasonable and wicked men” (2 Thessalonians 3:2).