“I would not wear that t-shirt I teased, “it’s enough of a struggle as it is without agreeing with that label.”
Patti laughed and continued walking to her home next door. She obviously didn’t know the power of our words or how many of us wrestle with following through and completing a task.
While reading in Nehemiah this morning, I pondered his life, mission, and potential distraction. Nehemiah was cup bearer to King Artaxerxes in Babylon, but his heart yearned to protect the remnant of the Jews, who survived the exile, and returned to their province. When he learned the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, in need of rebuilding, and the gates burned, he was distraught.
Obtaining permission from the king to look into the situation, he arrived in Jerusalem among much opposition from Sanballat and Tobiah, the king’s officials. They didn’t want anyone promoting the welfare of the Israelites. So they plotted to stop the work through ridicule and intimidation.
Nehemiah stationed soldiers to defend the work of rebuilding the walls and encouraged the workers to think about their awesome God and to fight for their families. They worked with one hand and were armed to protect with the other.
As the wall was being completed but without the doors set in place at the gates, Sanballat sent this message,
“Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain.” In reality, they were plotting to harm him but Nehemiah replied,
“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should I stop the work, leave, and go down to you?” (Neh. 6:3 NIV)
Four times they entreated him and Nehemiah repeated his answer. Next, they started rumors of rebellion against the king and stated that they needed to discuss these actions before the king finds out.
Nehemiah had to reply that nothing of what he was saying was true and he was making it all up in his head. Nehemiah knew they were trying to weaken him but he prayed,
“Strengthen my hands!”
Several more attempts were made to thwart his work by threatening letters and by luring him to a temple to be killed, but Nehemiah discerned they were not by God.
So the work was finished. Nehemiah’s enemies lost their confidence and knew the work had been done with the help of the Lord.
How do you defend your time and dedication to your most excellent work, calling, great project? The next time the opposition comes to easily distract, ridicule, and intimidate, defend your time by telling them,
“I am doing a great project and cannot come down, or nothing like you say is happening.”
Determine to hear God’s voice of discernment, spend time with Him, pray to strengthen your hands. Work with one hand and have your weapon in the other, think about your awesome God and fight for your family’s sake. Complete your project so the joy of the Lord will also be your strength!
Let’s replace the “easily distracted” tshirt for a “focused and determined” one.
Mind if I pray for you?
Help us to be focused and determined just like Nehemiah. Help us not to be distracted from the course you have set. Help us to follow through with our task and unique message you have given each of us. Restore our walls. Equip and sharpen us to put on our spiritual armor and be ready to answer the enemy who would like to sidetrack and delay us from rebuilding. Thanks for protecting us and helping us to succeed in our work. May our enemies be scattered and lose all confidence, knowing you have helped us to completion! In Jesus name, AMEN