The city walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt but Nehemiah saw sin, bondage and discouragement beginning to captivate the hearts of the people.
“As soon as it began to grow dark . . . I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath” (Nehemiah 13:19, ESV).
In this passage Nehemiah is a type of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God is saying, “I know your propensity, I know the pulls. I know the temptation will be to take the Sabbath and make it unholy . . . and you will forget Me.” So even before it was dark, Nehemiah closed the gates.
Your heavenly Father is on the move in your life to solve your problem even before you know you have a problem. God is on the move on your behalf even before the sin sets in, even before it takes hold. God is working! The old Puritans called this a prevenient grace—grace at work before the temptation comes. Even before Adam and Eve got out of the Garden, even before sin began to take hold in the fruit, God said to the serpent, “The Son (He was talking of His Son, Christ Jesus) will crush your head” (Genesis 3:15, paraphrase mine). After deceiving Adam and Eve, before Satan slithered out and began to move throughout the whole world to deceive the sons of Adam and Eve, God said, “I have a plan in action.”
This is not God standing on the sidelines saying, “If you fall into that sin, come to Me and repent and I will forgive you again.” Yes, He does that, but it is so much more than that. God is working on your behalf even before that temptation ever comes to you, building up a wall in your life. He is building up grace and maturity in you, leading you through the spiritual process of your growing to where you are strengthened—line upon line, precept upon precept.
God is already planning for your victory!