Focal Passage: Nehemiah 6:1-19
Earlier this year my son was participating in a school activity where his group was instructed by his teacher to do a certain activity. Some of the students tried to get my son to do something other than what the teacher said. In fact, several different students told him different things to do that were contrary to what the teacher had said. Some of the students even chided my son for not following their instructions. What was my son to do? Following the instructions of any of those students would have caused him to disobey the one with authority who had given the instructions in the first place. He decided to go back to his teacher, report the situation and follow the teacher’s instructions. I encouraged him for taking such action.
Nehemiah had been following God’s instructions for rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, and God was faithful to provide the resources to strengthen the hands of Nehemiah and the people of Judah. Sanballat, Shemaiah and Tobiah all brought difficulty against Nehemiah in different ways. At least five different times, Sanballat sent letters threatening Nehemiah to stop working on the wall. How did he respond? According to truth (v. 8). Shemaiah tried to distract Nehemiah with an action that would have shown a disregard for God’s law and a lack of faith in God to protect His people. Tobiah sought to create disunity. Yet through it all, Nehemiah kept His focus on the Lord, demonstrated faithfulness as a leader and saw God accomplish what only God could do – the rebuilding of the wall in 52 days.
Some say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” For Nehemiah, “When the going got tough, Nehemiah got praying … and kept going.” Adversity will certainly come into our lives. Jesus promised it for His followers. The questions then are: “How will we respond when it comes? Will we cower under the threats of men? Will we break under the load of difficult circumstances? Or, will we walk faithfully and keep going, with trust in the Lord, empowered by His Spirit, all for the sake of His glory?”