“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?” Nehemiah 6:2-3
The Message Bible (MSG)
I love Nehemiah’s dedication to the work! In the process of building the wall, Nehemiah was committed and recognized that he couldn’t come down until the work was completed. The walls and gates were important for the protection of the city.
Nehemiah said, “When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that there were no more breaks in it—even though I hadn’t yet installed the gates— Sanballat and Geshem sent this message: “Come and meet with us at Kephirim in the valley of Ono.” Four times they sent him this message and four times he gave them his answer (Neh. 6:1-2, 4). He did not allow others to distract him from the work. He wouldn’t come down off the wall until the work was completed.
Here’s the backstory. Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer, but he loved Jerusalem and was concerned about the welfare of his people (Jer. 15:5) when he heard that the wall had been broken down. He was in great distress although he enjoyed the security and prestige as the king’s cupbearer. Nehemiah heard that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and it’s gates were burned with fire. So he sat down and wept and mourned for many days. He fasted and prayed before the God of heaven who keeps His covenant and mercy with those whose who love him. Nehemiah prayed that the Lord’s ear would be attentive and eyes open to heard his prayers. The great God who keeps His promises, forgives sin, and helps His people when they call on Him. (Neh. 1:1-11).
Nehemiah did more than weep and pray. He made himself available to the Lord. He depended on God’s great power to work in and through him. Nehemiah was not content to just to get answers to prayer, he wanted to be the answer. He prayed for four months (Neh. 2:2-3). Then one day the king asked Nehemiah “What is it you want?” (Neh. 2:4). Nehemiah had been planning for this time and was able to give the king an answer and the king granted his request. He then went to the governors of the region and gave them the king’s letters. (Neh. 2:5-9). Nehemiah didn’t tell anyone what God had put in his heart to do at Jerusalem. When the government officials, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Gesham heard it, they laughed and despised Nehemiah and the builders. Nehemiah wasn’t afraid. He told them “The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this—Jerusalem’s none of your business!” (Neh. 2:20).
There is a place of ministry for everyone who has a mind to work. God has given His church spiritual gifts to fulfill the Great Commission. As you mature along your journey towards destiny the Lord may give you a vision, a promise of what He desires to do through you. You may not be able to share the vision with anyone until the time comes when God releases you to fulfill your part of the vision. When you share it people may laugh, look at you funny, or think your crazy, but like Nehemiah you know in your heart that the God of Heaven will make sure you succeed. Never give up on what God has promised. Just keep on working!
The enemy knows what we are doing and will be quick to fight against us. Expect opposition and be ready for it. Satan wants you to think that your work is not important. He wants you to believe it is not worth it. He will use mockery, threats, and fear to discourage you (Neh. 4:1-23). Fight the good fight of faith for what God has promised!
The enemy may attack from the inside. Be prepared to deal with selfishness and greed among the people. You might get angry at the people you are trying to help. It’s difficult not to get angry with people. Make sure to pray for God’s insight and wisdom to bring resolution to the situation. Like Nehemiah, you may have to appeal to their love and devotion to the Word of the Lord (Neh. 5:1-13).
There is a righteous indignation against sin itself that is not sinful “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” (Eph. 4.26). I can share with you that people will anger you. Don’t let your anger cause you to fight back or give up. It’s an opportunity to grow in godliness!
It is easy to fly into a passion—anybody can do that—but to be angry with the right person to the right extent and at the right time and with the right object and the right way—that is not easy, and it is not everyone who can do it.
Now when the government officials and the rest of Nehemiah’s enemies heard that the wall had been rebuilt they sent Nehemiah a message that they wanted to meet with him. Nehemiah resisted. The work was completed and God was glorified.
Nehemiah was a man of prayer. He was deeply concerned about God’s cause. The rebuilding of the walls and gates of Jerusalem was a monumental task. What Nehemiah did was a tremendous thing, and it was a wonderful testimony of God working through individuals. It may take significant sacrifices for God, but He takes notice of our willingness an faithfulness to the cause and rewards us for our obedience.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Col. 3:23-24).
What about the broken down walls surrounding your nation, your city, your community, or your family. Are you willing to respond when the heart of others are hurting? Are you willing to weep and mourn over the condition of the nation and its people? Are you willing to intercede on behalf of the people to a covenant keeping, merciful God? Are you willing to be the answer to someone’s prayer?
This is justice.
He has told you, O man, what is good—and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 Modern English Version (MEV)
Note: All Scripture is taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.