“‘Come, let us meet together…on the plain of Ono.’ But they were scheming to harm me; 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?’ Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer…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.’” Nehemiah 6:2-4, 8-9.
Nehemiah’s enemies decided to take a more crafty approach in stopping his work on the wall. They encouraged him to come off the wall, and come out into a neutral place where they could meet. This has spiritual implications written all over it! God gives each of us a wall on which to work, the ministry wherein our spiritual passions lay…a great project. Once the work begins, the enemy will lay the trap for us to trip up, be distracted and move away from our service. It is much easier to recognize frontal attacks from an enemy than an olive branch for which they offer. Nehemiah recognized that the olive branch was poisonous. His enemies’ offer was met with Nehemiah’s unwavering Oh No! He knew that it would not only distract him from his important call from God, but it would place him in a vulnerable position. He always responded to the same question with the same answer…he never wavered.
I know another person who came to do the work of His Father…a great project…a mighty wall – Jesus Christ. When tempted by the enemy three times, He too, recited back the same words to Satan…IT IS WRITTEN! Jesus armed Himself with the Word and never wavered from those beautiful life-giving words of His Father. He worked on His wall from the day He became flesh and never wavered until the day He ascended into heaven.
We have all been called to a great project in the Lord’s kingdom. We will all be enticed to step away from our wall and ‘go down to the plain of Ono.’ The enemy will repeat his message in our heads over and over again which will always be lies, distractions and vulnerable traps. We must be armed with the word of God so that when we are called to come off of our wall, we will be disciplined in our work and determined in our responses…It is written! We cannot allow the enemy to threaten and discourage us. The Hebrew translation for ‘the hands will get too weak’ is they will get discouraged. Our walls will be completed when we follow the example of Nehemiah and Jesus Christ. Their examples were:
- To work for the Lord with all of our heart, soul and body;
- to recognize the lure of the enemy;
- to respond to the enemy with the word of God;
- to be encouraged in the Lord through prayer;
Our personal response to the enemy will be: ‘It is written in God’s word in 1 John 4:4...I am a dear child of God, and I will overcome, because the one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world.’
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