Dodging Dangerous Distractions

Nehemiah 6:1-3 – 1 Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 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?”

Nehemiah led a tremendous project, the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. And in that season, as we might imagine, he faced opposition. Evil men wanted to keep Nehemiah from accomplishing the plan and purposes of God.

Here we see a tactic used by these men. As the work was progressing, enemies of Nehemiah, enemies of God, tried to coax Nehemiah into going out to meet with them. Their goal was clearly to kill Nehemiah when he was away from the city. Nehemiah, for his part, would not go with the men. He reasoned that he had far too much work to do for the purpose of God to allow himself to be taken from it to deal with these evil men.

I wonder if we might find a principle here for faithful living before the Lord. Nehemiah had a God-given task. The more Nehemiah focused on what he was called to do, the more he was safe from the schemes of his enemies. Nehemiah’s enemies wanted to draw him away from the work and into conflict with them. The man of God simply pressed on with the work.

Today, there are many enemies who clamor for our attention. There are many who try to get us to step away from things that matter to enter into conflict with them. This is especially true on social media sites. It is as if there are a host of enemies telling us, “Stop focusing on the Lord and come argue with me.” While there is certainly merit in answering a fool according to his folly in order both to prevent him from being wise in his own eyes and from influencing others, there is also a danger. There is a danger of becoming so distracted by a focus on the fool that you forget to focus on the Savior and his holy word. There is a danger of spending all your time being angry about the errors of others instead of having your heart filled with the glory of the Savior whose honor you think you are defending.

May we be wise as we consider life. May we not spend more time focusing on error and enemies than we spend on the word of God and the work to which God has called us. The Lord wants us to love him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. God wants us to love our families. God wants us to love and treasure our local churches. God wants us to share the gospel. God wants us to grow in our knowledge of the faith. With all that, we do not have time to go out and argue all day with people who do not love the Lord and who only wish to drag us away from the work.