Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message:
“Come, let us meet together in one of the villages 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…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,
Let’s take a look at these verses and what they might
mean for 21st century Christians. First,
here’s a bit of context. Nehemiah the
Israelite was a servant of the King of Persia, who at that time ruled over
Israel. Learning that the walls of
Jerusalem were collapsed, Nehemiah asked for, and received, permission to take
charge of rebuilding the walls and making the people safe from attack.
By this point in the story, Nehemiah’s work was almost completed,
and his enemies were getting disturbed. They
tried to distract him from his work with offers and invitations. But Nehemiah knew when people were trying to
trick him. His enemies tried again and
again to stop the work of rebuilding God’s city. They even sent Nehemiah a false message about
a rumor of rebellion against the king, hoping he would fall for it. And when Nehemiah refused their requests they
changed tactics, attempting to discourage the workers by telling them the job
was too difficult and would never be finished.
Some commentators suggest that they were trying to trick
him into leaving Jerusalem, where he had armed support, to come to a conference
where they could ambush him and perhaps kill him. Nehemiah evidently senses this. But he ignored them, and instead called upon
God to strengthen him and bless his work.
Can you see how this might have application for today?
You, too, may experience continuing pressure to change
your mind and go along with something that does not seem right. Many have fallen because they gave in to
repeated pressure. But Nehemiah persists
in his refusal. Here is his reason, “I am doing a great work, he says. God has committed an incredible project to me,
and if I leave, it will be threatened.”
One of the most helpful things that we can do to resist
temptation is to remember that God has called us to a great task and to keep
focused on that calling. This is true of
every believer in Christ. I do not care
how young or how old you are in the Lord, you are called to a tremendous work
today. That task is to model a different
lifestyle so that those who are being ruined by sinful practices will see something
that offers them hope and deliverance. If
they see in you peace in the middle of confusion, an invisible support that
keeps you steady under pressure, they will learn that there is another way to
live than the destructive way they have chosen.
How would our lives be different if instead, every time
we faced distraction or discouragement, we prayed, “Oh Lord, strengthen my hands!” This is no time to lay down our
Strengthen our hands, Lord!
Can God change your life?
God has made it possible for you
to know Him, and experience an amazing
change in your own life.
Discover how you can find peace
Reproduced with permission from Russ Sharrock.