Summary: You are going to face opposition when you set out to be dedicated and devoted to God, when you determine to rebuild broken walls of spiritual significance in your life. The devil is on the job, and his primary goal is to render your life ineffective for
This chapter begins with the names of a couple of fellows who did not want to see the walls rebuilt around Jerusalem. It may very well be that they weren’t all that concerned about walls, but that they were representative of a larger group who simply had no regard for the Jews and didn’t want them to do anything that would be prosperous.
The relevance for Christians today is that you are going to face opposition when you set out to be dedicated and devoted to God, when you determine to rebuild broken walls of spiritual significance in your life. The devil is on the job, and his primary goal is to render your life ineffective for God, and thereby causing your life to be far less than it could otherwise be.
It is easy for us older folks to look at teenagers and see that they are making daily decisions that can follow them for the rest of their lives. It’s easy for us to see that they are at a very crucial time in their lives, but I would suggest to you that all of us are always at a crucial time. The little things that we do, or fail to do today, can have a major effect on our tomorrows.
There is always a temptation to step away from God’s will, verses 1-4.
They wanted Nehemiah to meet with them someplace outside of Jerusalem. The devil is a master at giving folks the idea that there is some important thing going on somewhere else, something that will justify putting God’s business on the back burner of your life. In verse 3, Nehemiah was smart enough to know that they only wanted to do him mischief.
I really love the answer Nehemiah gave these folks: he said, “I’m doing a great work, and I can’t come down.” Anytime you step away from God’s will in your life, you are stepping down. You are stepping way down.
The devil would love for you to lay aside the great, so that you can become involved in the good. When a good thing is done at the expense of a greater thing, the good thing becomes a bad thing. When you are doing what you know God has told you to do, you are doing a great thing.
Every person could make to list of things to do. First, there are the things we must do, in order to live a life that is most pleasing to God, and therefore bringing the greatest blessings and satisfaction to our own lives; and second, there are things that we would like to do. The things on our “would like to do” list are things that we are very likely to do at some point in our life, but they must be done only as the things we “must do” will allow . To step away from the great thing that God has told you do, in order to do a good thing that you want to do, is to step away from the will of God.
Don’t miss the truth that is shown in verse 4: the devil is very persistent. Nehemiah’s telling these folks one time didn’t settle it. He had to keep telling them, over and over. You whip the devil today, and you might as well get ready, because you’ve got another fight on your hands tomorrow! But, greater is He that is you, than he that is in the world. There’s victory in Jesus.
There will always be people who will question your motives, verses 5-8.
They said, “Nehemiah, you just want to be king.” Nehemiah had never thought about being king, and he’d never talked to anybody about king, it had never entered his heart.
When somebody questions your motive, you find out if you’re doing what you’re doing for Jesus, or if you are just feeding your pride. I’ve seen people who seemed to be wonderful servants of the Lord, people who worked diligently in the church, then somebody would say, “It looks like you are just trying to run everything,” and then it was all over. They quit, determined to never do anything again, because somebody questioned their motives.
Nehemiah didn’t budge an inch. In verse 8, if I may paraphrase, he said, “You are just a big fat liar!” Thank God for people like Nehemiah, and God help us all to learn a lesson from him. His first concern was not his personal popularity, but it was to do the will of God. He knew he was doing what he was doing for God, whether anybody else knew it or not.
Aren’t you glad Jesus didn’t get his feelings hurt, when they called him a wine bibber, a glutton, an imposter, and even a devil?