Battling Distractions

When Nehemiah was working on finishing the walls of Jerusalem, enemies of the people of God tried to stop him. At times they used distraction. At times they used threats. At times they used lies. But they constantly clamored for Nehemiah’s attention to prevent him from doing what the Lord had called him to do.

 

Nehemiah 6:2-4 – 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. 3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.

 

Nehemiah had a job to do. He had a work to oversee. He could not just let the work go so as to have a round-table discussion with the enemies of the Lord. This was especially true when Nehemiah knew that these men intended to do him harm. They had no good intentions.

 

Later, that same group would write a false letter to share with the Persian king to attempt to discredit Nehemiah. But Nehemiah would not stop the work because of their threats. Eventually they threatened Nehemiah with violence and tried to convince him to sin against God by running and hiding in the temple, a place off limits to Nehemiah.

 

Nehemiah 6:11-13 – 11 But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” 12 And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.

 

Nehemiah did not let himself get distracted from the work. He did not compromise the standards of the Lord, not even for his own safety, and the Lord took care of him.

 

I think we can learn from this in our present political predicament. As Christians in the U.S., we find ourselves facing distractions. People want our attention. People want us to focus on anything other than the actual mission of the church. People want us to compromise. People want us to stop doing what God calls the church to do. But we must not give in.

 

Eventually, the same people who wish first to distract us and shift our focus from the Lord will try other means. They will try threats both political and physical. We, as people of God, must not give in. We must learn that the Lord has always been able to use his people, regardless of their political situation. We must not compromise. WE must not run and hide. We must, instead, be faithful to the Lord and to his word.

 

We are called, Christians, to love the Lord our God with all our hearts. We are to obey the Lord Jesus. We are to call true and right what God says is true and right in his word regardless of popular opinion. We are to tell people that they need Jesus for salvation. We are to worship Jesus and make his glory our number one priority. We must not let ourselves be distracted with political in-fighting or threats. We simply are to be the people of God as God has called us. WE cannot hide through compromise. WE must stand on the word of God, faithfully honoring the Lord, if we wish to be what the Lord has called us to be.

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