“And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you”? (Nehemiah 6:3).
Nehemiah was cupbearer to Artaxerxes, king of Persia. His heart was deeply troubled upon hearing the news of the sad conditions in Israel. With permission and authority from the king, Nehemiah set out to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and make it a fortified city once again. However, he encountered resistance and opposition from certain individuals who did not want to see the work of God go forward. We are introduced to these men in Nehemiah 2:10,19.
Being unable to prevent Judah from rebuilding since God’s people were authorized and even supplied by the king of Persia, these men sought to use ridicule (4:1-3), threats (4:7-8) and deception (6:1-14) to get Nehemiah to stop the work he was doing. They showed great disrespect toward God’s man and even used an “open letter” (6:5) to intimidate Nehemiah into stopping the work, by garnering public opinion against him.
But Nehemiah, with faith in God, drove straight ahead with the work and stayed on task, working day and night. In spite of all the obstacles – opposition from the outside and discouragement on the inside – the wall was finished in 52 days (6:15), and Jerusalem was once again a fortified city.
Satan and his crowd are always trying to get the servant of God to come down and the work of the Lord to cease. No doubt you have been criticized for doing God’s work, and so have I, but be like Nehemiah and refuse to allow your detractors to cause you to cease. Here are just a few thoughts:
1. When you come down, you abandon God’s work – Nehemiah 6:3a. God’s work is a “great” work, and demands our best effort. The Lord Jesus is our example. He said in John 4:34, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Be a finisher! Don’t allow others to get you to cease doing God’s work! His work is always of great value, so remain on course. Remember, Paul said, “I have finished my course” (II Timothy 4:7).
2. When you come down, you abandon God’s witness – Nehemiah 6:3b. Remember, others are watching you. If Nehemiah had come down and the work had ceased, his workers could have become discouraged and the project may never have been completed. Even more important, what would that say to the unsaved who were watching? Our lives are living letters, “known and read of all men” (II Corinthians 3:2). So don’t quit! Remember your witness before your brethren and a watching world.
Refuse to listen to the critics and the naysayers. Don’t be distracted by those who oppose you and the work you are doing. They may dislike you and even say all manner of things against you falsely (6:8), but stay in the battle for Jesus and refuse to come down for any reason! Those who seek to interrupt our work, divert our attention, or attack us personally are not from God. Stay the course, finish the task, and God will ultimately bless your life and your efforts for Him. He did it for Nehemiah, and He will do it for you as well. Stay focused on the work!