Scripture speaks for itself. Nothing more needs to be added, deleted or changed–really. So this is just my review of a chapter that a friend drew my attention to. A lesson in focus. Something that I need at times. If you struggle similarly, please read it—Nehemiah 6. There’s a blessing in sharing.:)
(NIV) Nehemiah 6:1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.”
So without even getting into the historical aspect of this story and the significance of the event that was occurring—the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall–this is a great opening for a chapter with a ‘setup.’
But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
Oh to be engaged in a great work! Or even a small one ordained by God. To be undeterred. To stay focused no matter the cost–no matter how seemingly important the matter or the distraction. This could not be a ‘mommy calling the child to wash dishes’ kind of thing. No. This was a grown human being saying, ‘look, I’m on assignment. Leave me alone!’
Further, it is interesting to me that Nehemiah said the work would cease if he came down….Isn’t it so today as it was then that sometimes when a supervisor stops working so do their staff? My brother who has a team working for him says whenever he is with the team he has to push the work because he knows the work will not continue at the same speed when he is not around. Really? Lol.
5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written:
“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true–
KJV says Geshmu saith…obviously whoever thought that Geshmu’s name would have had some weight needed to think again.
that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”
Insinuating that Nehemiah had self-appointed prophets is a very creative attempt to suggest sinister motives. Is there anything new under the sun?
8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
Yes! Making it up out of your head! Talk about boldness and knowing your purpose.
9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
Strengthen my hands! My heart! My determination! My convictions! Strengthen us to do God’s will!
10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.
Wouldn’t this seem like the best place to go? smh.
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!”
He said ‘I-WILL-NOT-GO!’ Mercy.
12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.
14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophet Noadiah and how she and the rest of the prophets have been trying to intimidate me.
smh. No words.
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
What can be done in 52 days? 52 years? Or by 52 people? The passage doesn’t say how many people were working with Nehemiah. Further, the number 52 may not have any particular meaning. God is not restricted by time. He can do what he wants in a shorter or longer period. The thing is that they completed their assignment!
16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
But God! Giving credit where credit is due! The source of life, strength and the accomplishment of worthy endeavors.
17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them. 18 For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shekaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.
We as human beings often get carried away by who a person is related to, who they are connected to, and their status in society. The other day a well-meaning friend was introducing me to one of his friends and he said, and I paraphrase, this is the son of the former president of the University of the Southern Caribbean, Dr. Vernon Andrews (he didn’t put in the ‘E.’). After he was finished, I had to lay into him briefly and in a very colloquial way say, ‘hey, I’m Vaughn.’:)
19 Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
Intimidation! Nehemiah was fearless. You saw where he said in v. 11 ‘Should a man like me run away?’
Wow, what a chapter! Fear! Intimidation! Met with resilience, doggedness, faith, and trust in God! A lesson in focus. Finishing the task at hand and trusting God no matter the consequence!
“…do not let anyone treat you as if you were not important. Be an example….Show them with your words, with the way you live, with your love, with your faith, and with your pure life.” A.Paul