Summary: We have heard many great sermons in the course of our life from this particular passage of Scripture. We have echoed the words of Nehemiah at some point in our Christian Journey – “I am doing a great work.” We have heard sermons encouraging us not to co
Dr. Wayne A. Lawson
Preached at Antioch Institutional Baptist Church
Oklahoma City, OK
TITLE: THE LAND OF ONO
SCRIPTURE: NEHEMIAH 6:1-4
1Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) 2That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. 3And 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? 4Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
We have heard many great sermons in the course of our life from this particular passage of Scripture. We have echoed the words of Nehemiah at some point in our Christian Journey – “I am doing a great work.” We have heard sermons encouraging us not to come down from building our spiritual wall – to hold on to God’s unchanging hand – to stand fast and God will see us through. As we continue to be a Church in Transition, it is also important for us to spend time in a Healing Process. I pray last weeks and today’s message will assist in that endeavor. In our text we see God’s people also in a state of transition and moving through the various stages of the Church healing process.
The Bible records that it was on July 10, 586 B.C. The Babylonian forces of King Nebuchadnezzar broke through the Northern wall of Jerusalem and led 100’s of thousands of Jews 700 miles to Babylon = The land of idolatry. The Jewish survivors were hauled across the Syrian desert to Babylon, many of them perishing along the way. Recall with me that The Southern Kingdom of Judah had ceased to exist, the monarchy had ended and this marked the end of the First Temple Period.
Jerusalem was burned and the walls of the city were torn down. All military, civil and religious leaders were either executed or carried away into captivity. Isn’t it interesting how the devil wants to remove leadership – strike the shepherd and what happens? Only the poorest of the peasants of Judah were allowed to remain in the land which was by now a place of complete desolation. But I am so glad this morning that God always leaves a remnant, this is why we are reminded that the meek shall inherit the earth.
Nehemiah, found in our text, was the cupbearer for the King of Persia. Nehemiah was a happy man, rarely ever depressed. He was the cupbearer of the king and that meant that he was privileged and responsible to appear before the King regularly. One day he came before the king as he came before the king, his countenance was fallen. He had a sad look upon his face. The king inquired of him because he had never come that way to the king before. He was always on the topside of things. always cheerful. That is the way it should be with all of us as Christian. Those that knew Nehemiah knew that something had to be wrong. So the king inquired, “Nehemiah, what’s wrong?” and Nehemiah told him, that the word had come from a man, one of his brethren name Hanani from the land of Palestine. He says that the land there is in ruin. The walls of his home city had been leveled. The Temple walls lay in waist and the gates have all been burned. So Nehemiah asked permission of the king that he be allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and re-erect the gates. The king gave him leave to do so. Nehemiah came to the city of Jerusalem and there he viewed the walls and he was crushed.
• He wept as he saw the walls of his beloved city leveled and his heart was crushed
• He wept as he saw the walls of his beloved city leveled and the gates of that city burned with fire
• Nehemiah began to gather a group of people, God’s people, and started the rebuilding of these walls.
Let’s focus this morning on the initial portion of this passage and hear what God is saying to us this morning. Let’s focus on Nehemiah’s situation while rebuilding this important wall. Nehemiah’s colleague by the name of Ezra just accomplished the spiritual establishment of this returning new community from their years of being in exile, whereas Nehemiah’s Assignment was to provide a physical structure. Also he rebuilt it in record time 52 DAYS! Nehemiah was a great PULPITEER, and we recall his simple message I’M DOING A GREAT WORK – NOT FOR MYSELF – BUT FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF GOD’S KINGDOM.