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April 27, 2024 - Nehemiah 6-9

Success!  The wall was completed even with all the opposition Nehemiah and the workers faced.  The enemies of God’s people, though, just would not give up:  “When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it--though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates--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” (6:1-2).  Nothing new, here.  Joseph was wrongly treated.  Daniel and his companions faced murderous opposition.  The people cried out for Jeremiah to be killed.  Everywhere Paul went it seems as if terrible opposition arose against him.  And what of Jesus?  Oh my, the opposition he faced!

 

Ya gotta love Nehemiah’s response!  “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?’  Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer” (6:3-4).  Nehemiah was direct in his response.  He was firm.  He was persistent.  He was unbending in his belief that God had given him a task and that God would see him through.  I can’t help but recall the words of Solomon:  “Unless the Lord  builds the house, the builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

 

Vainly, through night’s weary hours,

Keep we watch, lest foes alarm;

Vain our bulwarks, and our towers,

But for God’s protecting arm.

 

Vain were all our toil and labor,

Did not God that labor bless;

Vain, without his grace and favor,

Every talent we possess.   -- Harriet Auber (1830)

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