Sometimes God reminds me about the big picture and my response to everything that comes at me, from inside and outside the church that I am privileged to serve. As a result of some of my recent studies, such a reminder came once again from one of my Old Testament heroes, Nehemiah.
It had been a difficult and emotional time. As the task was undertaken, there was the initial fear taking on such a task, then the fear of daring to even approach the king. But Nehemiah did not back down. His confidence was that the good hand of God was upon him; it was God that would accomplish the task. No less than six times the enemies of God’s work attempted to thwart Nehemiah’s progress. When his enemies asked Nehemiah to meet with them about sorting out their differences, Nehemiah refused, with conviction, “saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? “
In chapter 6 of the book that bears his name, we find that the despite this intense opposition, the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was accomplished in fifty-two days.
So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God. (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
When it was completed, even Nehemiah’s enemies recognized the hand of God.
Fast forward twenty-five hundred years, and today God’s work still faces intense opposition. There are those openly opposed to anything that would name the name of Christ. Within the broader context of Christianity there are those who oppose the exclusive claims of Christ and anyone who is involved in reaching people with the gospel. From the outside comes the call for tolerance; from within are calls for compromise.
Nehemiah did not set out to make these enemies. With conviction of his soul, Nehemiah simply set out to do God’s work for God’s glory. In like manner, we must be fully engaged in God’s work -taking the message of Christ to a lost and dying world, both locally and globally. We must recognize that because it is His work, we can’t compromise with those who would want us to water down the message or divert from our mission. People headed for a Christless eternity need our faithful commitment to this work. One by one, whether now or in eternity, the enemies of God’s work will perceive that what is accomplished was indeed the handiwork of God.