Christian fortitude will always be sharpened by opposition. Every temptation to draw us from duty and into a snare, should drive us to God and so quicken us the more to duty.
1 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)
2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.
3 And I sent messengers unto them, 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?
4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
5 Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;
6 Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.
7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
8 Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.
9 For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
10 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.
11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
12 And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
14 My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.
15 ¶ So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
16 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.
17 ¶ Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them.
18 For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.
19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear.
Nehemiah 6:1 – J. Vernon McGee
Nehemiah 6:2-3 – J. Vernon McGee
Nehemiah 6:4-11 – J. Vernon McGee
Nehemiah 6:12-19 – J. Vernon McGee
Nehemiah 6 – A Great Task—A Safeguard from Danger
How often Satan tries to call us off from our work for God! He cannot endure to see us engaged so eagerly on our Master’s business and therefore raises up all sorts of hindrances and hostilities. Amid all these we have but one duty to perform. We must lose ourselves in our work. Ours to reply, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease?” (v. 3) If we will see to God’s business, He will see to our safety. False friends, who prophesy in God’s name, are more to be dreaded than open foes. We must learn to discern the spirits. The counsel which savors of self is always to be suspected. Note that Nehemiah considered that to have fear would have been to sin. But God was with the little band through dangers, and the wall was finished in spite of all opposition, I Corinthians 15:58. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Nehemiah 6:3—I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.
It was a sublime answer. Below was the Plain of Ono; where Nehemiah’s foes awaited him. Let him once descend into it and he would become their easy prey; but he withstood their fourfold solicitation by considering the greatness of the work he was doing and the responsible position he was called to fill. Other worldliness is the best cure for worldliness. Those whose affections are set on things above will have no difficulty in refusing the appeals of sense. Get your heart and hands deeply engaged in the great work of building God’s Temple, and you will be proof to the most flattering proposals ever made by Madam Bubble.
Oh, children of the Great King, let us pray that we may know the grandeur of our position before Him; the high calling with which we have been called; the vast responsibilities with which we are entrusted; the great work of cooperating with God in erecting the city of God. Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ! Called to sit with Christ in the Heavenlies! Risen, ascended, crowned in Him! Sitting with Christ, far above all principality and power! How can we go down—down to the world that rejected Him; down to the level of the first Adam, from which, at so great cost, we have been raised; down to the quarry from which we were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence we were digged! No, it cannot be; and as we make our choice, let us look to the living and ascended Christ to make it good. Put your will on His side, and expect that the energy of the power that raised Him from the dead will raise and maintain you in union with Him. For “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). —Our Daily Homily