There were two things near and dear to Nehemiah’s heart: fidelity to God’s law and rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem. The walls were intended to secure the city against attack and make it possible to live in safety. The Babylonians had torn down the walls a century earlier and since then, the Persians had the power. Nehemiah was the right-hand-man of the king of Persia. He asked for permission to go home to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls, and the king granted it.
The rebuilding of the wall took over 12 years. All kinds of curve balls were thrown Nehemiah’s way. His workers constantly had to defend themselves against enemies while they worked, and he was constantly ridiculed: “A fox can knock those walls down!” Nehemiah stubbornly stayed the course, which proved to be just the example his coworkers needed.