So, what do you do when someone comes to tell you the walls of your hometown have been destroyed? Well if you are Nehemiah you go rebuild them. I think this is a big reason why I like Nehemiah. He’s a problem solver, and he acts. How many times do we see people identify problems, but offer no solution? I see it every day. Nehemiah hears about the walls of Jerusalem being torn down, and he becomes upset about it – he asks God what to do, and God tells him to go re-build. So, he goes and rebuilds the wall.
Well, it wasn’t quite that easy. While Nehemiah is rebuilding, the people who tore it down find out, and they don’t like that. So, they send a message to Nehemiah asking him to come visit with them and talk, aka kill him. Nehemiah responds with this: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” (6:3) They send this message 4 times and 4 times Nehemiah answers the same way. On the fifth time, they sent a message accusing Nehemiah of stirring up rebellion so he could be King. Nehemiah responds with this: “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” (6:8) Nehemiah goes on to say, “They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So, I continued the work with even greater determination.” (6:9)
Here is the part of the story where Nehemiah and I start to really get along. I mean this dude has denied 6 requests to meet with the enemy. Why? Because he is too focused on the work God sent him there to do. God didn’t send Nehemiah to Jerusalem to meet with the enemy. He didn’t even send him there to destroy them. God sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem to re-build the wall, and that is exactly what Nehemiah did. In fact, by the time Nehemiah gets there (he was working for a foreign King) the walls had been destroyed 152 years, and the people of Jerusalem had been trying to rebuild them for 70 years. God sends Nehemiah, who has them rebuilt in 52 DAYS. Yes, you read that correctly DAYS – not weeks, moths, or years, Nehemiah was so focused on his goal that he rebuilt those walls in 52 days. That is determination.
As I read this story, I wonder how often we let our enemy come in and distract us from the work we are supposed to be doing. How many times have we been working on our wall, the devil comes a knocking, and here we go, getting down off our wall, for a meeting with the enemy. Now please hear me say, I strongly believe in spiritual warfare, and there are times in the book of Nehemiah where they must fight off the enemy; however, they don’t lose focus. Nehemiah had strong discernment to know when it was time to fight, and when it was time to ignore and move on. The trend I see happening today looks like this: Katie is building her wall, and doing exactly what God has asked her to do. Satan comes along and requests a meeting. He says that Sally has been talking about Katie, and thinks her wall is stupid. Katie gets mad, and goes to Sally’s house and they argue. Katie goes back to her wall, but she can’t work on a wall – she’s too mad at Sally to work. Katie is pacing outside her wall thinking about Sally, and Satan comes along. Katie tells him what happened with Sally, and he agrees with Katie. He thinks Katie should be mad at Sally, but she should probably also be mad at Susie who told Sally about the wall to begin with. And the cycle continues. So, what is happening here, Katie isn’t working on her wall. The enemy has distracted her so that she is not doing the work God has for her, and she is living miserable in unforgiveness and hatred. Then Katie realizes she is miserable, runs to God, and He has to take her through all this deliverance to get rid of her mess so she can finish the wall. Now how much time have we wasted?
When are we going to stop letting the enemy distract us with stuff that doesn’t matter? There is so much power in ignoring, and continuing the work God sent you to do is more powerful than going and trying to fight your enemy anyway. Darkness is invading our world at every corner. There isn’t an area in culture where the enemy hasn’t twisted the character of God, and made all of us out to be hypocritical, judgmental, self-righteous idiots. If you haven’t realized it yet, we are in a war. And in this war, you better suit up or you are going to get run over. It is important for us to realize that winning this war looks like stepping into our destiny, and building the wall God has called us to build.
Friends, don’t let the enemy distract you from what is important. He would love to keep you in knots, but God has such a beautiful freedom awaiting you. Actions done in relationship are so much better than those performed in duty. God sees you, He knows you, and He likes you. He won’t call you to do something you hate, and I promise, anything you have to sacrifice – you won’t miss it. Stepping in to your divine destiny is the most exciting thing you will ever do.