Wall projects on a national scale have always been controversial. Those not citizens of a nation see walls as an impediment to their plans for incursion (physical, economic, philosophical and spiritual). Citizens of a country see a wall as a defensive necessity reqired to maintain national integrity and sovereignty. So it is and so it was in the ancient nation of repatriated Israel.
In Nehemiah's case, the wall project was threatened on many fronts. Sandballat and his thugs employed terroristic threats and morale-breaking psy-ops to stop the project. Nehemiah responded with multi-pronged strategy:
Nehemiah 4:13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
First, Nehemiah led. He didn't gather a committee and brain-storm ideas- he gathered the leaders of the people and cast his carefully considered (and prayed-over) plan for the nation's defense.
Second, Nehemiah inspired. He gave an impassioned speech on the pressing subject of the moment: "Fear". His propostion was a simple one- "Don't fear Sandballat and the boys!" after all, they were mere men. On the other hand, DO FEAR God! This is what might be called "moral courage"- the ability to face down human threat through the absolute conviction that reverent obedience to God is ALWAYS most important. It is more important than the preservation of life itself!
Third, Nehemiah called for action. Specifically- "fight"! Now, I know- many people consider armed opposition to be evil in and of itself- no matter the circumstances. But I would remind them that God Himself called His people to the battle on more than one occasion. Our own nation's formation came at the cost of armed conflict- one that itself was prefaced with prayer and pious justification in defense of home and family. Armed conflict is only necessary in light of the reality of evil (for evil knows no compromise or concession). One day, swords will be pounded into plowshares- but only after the King of Kings wins the victory in the final armed conflict between good and evil.
Nehemiah was a powerful leader of God's people who did not choose the political path of compromise, but rather the pious path of no compromise in pursuit of God's will and work. By my observation, we are in great need of more men to stand in the great tradition of Nehemiah.