And How You Can Complete Yours
Recently I have been writing from the book of Nehemiah and discussing the ways and means that the enemy uses to try to stop God’s work from going forward. I talked about Sanballat and Tobiah and their attempts to do anything to keep Nehemiah and his workers from finishing their assignments. I applied these to our situation to help us understand the enemy’s tactics.
I want to conclude these studies with a look at Nehemiah and what helped them press through and complete the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem. So many times we focus on what the enemy is saying and doing and we fall into the traps established to counter our mission. What was it that kept Nehemiah’s team from falling for these tricks and that enabled them to ‘finish the task?’
I think that having a spirit of perseverance to finish the job is an understatement. Yet, if we are not careful, we can allow the tactics presented to us as Sanballat did to Nehemiah to cause discouragement, doubt, and a desire to just quit and become lazy.
When we become discouraged we tend to look at how much is left to do instead of what has been accomplished. Just to be allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall was in itself a cause for celebration. Nevertheless, the work had to be done and it wasn’t easy. It was probably hot, and coupled with long hours, lack of materials or funds to procure them, and motivating the workers that alone was a big enough challenge.
It was further complicated when leaders from the local government representing the king back in Persia showed up. Their mere presence was enough to bring intimidation, doubt, and discouragement. But, they opened their mouths and teased, taunted, and threatened the workers. When they saw their efforts were fruitless they conspired to kill them and even sent false prophets in hopes that they would be tricked into walking away.
Nehemiah came to complete an assignment and had the backing of the leaders back home. That plus the fact that it was God’s work fueled his passion for the work. Nehemiah set his mind to rebuild the wall when he was in Susa before he departed for Jerusalem. Thus his determination to rebuild the broken down wall resulted in a spirit of perseverance that spilled over into the workers that kept them focused until the end.
No matter what you set your hand to do, do it as unto the Lord with a spirit of perseverance. So many lack that today, yet Jesus told us that we must persevere until the end. That end can be many things but for our purpose here it is the end of an assignment. Then we must persevere until He returns. I urge you to press on!
2-He Recognized It As God’s Work
Despite all that was against him, Nehemiah was too quick to remind the enemy that this was God’s work. Jerusalem is God’s eternal city, and is the place where He has placed His name forever. He had promised, through the prophets, to return the exiles from where they were scattered and to rebild the city and temple.
Nehemiah had read these promises and knew that it would not happen unless someone went and did it. He also knew that it was all work that would be orchestrated by the hand of God. He reminded Sanballat of this fact. When he was told to stop working and could have easily walked away, he chose to stand and fight and complete his mission.
When God does a work, He supplies for all of the needs. But, that does not mean that the enemy will not show up and try to spoil God’s plans. When we submit to the taunts of the enemy, we are coming out of agreement with God’s plan and mission for us. God’s work has no room for failure because we lose focus.
The enemy’s lies are just that, and the truth is what God has already told us. If you are attempting something God-sized, then he will provide, and it is He that will accomplish it and finish it through you. So, remember the assignment from Heaven is God’s work, and we are workers in His kingdom. Of course, there will be delays, discouragement, and all sorts of evil to deter and destroy God’s work, but we must remember it is His work, and we cannot stop.
3- Authority From Heaven
Because it is God’s work, therefore it is He that sends and equips the workers. Nehemiah not only read the prophecies concerning God’s plan to rebuild it, but he also recognized that Heaven would send someone or a group to return ahead of the exiles to rebuild the city. In other words, he had been granted authority by the rulers back in Susa, but greater was the authority He had from Heaven.
When God sends you to do a work, you have the full weight of heaven behind you. Authority is as if Jesus Himself is standing there. That was how it was when the first disciples set out to complete the task of discipling the nations. We can also see God’s heart in discipling the nations throughout the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.
We also see the resistance to the gospel in those books. The spirit of AntiChrist, Baal, and all manner of witchcraft arose to prevent the worship of the one true God in Jersualem and the nations. However, men like Nehemiah received authority from heaven and walked in that as they completed their assignments. You have been given greater authority because of Jesus so what is yours or mine excuses?
4- Nehemiah Operated In The Opposite Spirit Than Sanballat
When the enemy comes and speaks lies, we are to counter it with the truth. That is what Nehemiah did. For instance when Sanballat told him to stop, he replied that he couldn’t because it was the “work of God.” Later when another tool of the enemy speaks lies, Nehemiah tells him he is just making it up in his head-vain imaginations.
At one point false propohets showed up to attempt to trick Nehemiah and his friends into meeting with them in the temple. Nehemiah was quick to recognize a trap. You and I must stay on our guard and be astute to the traps, ambushes and lies of the enemy. It is important we stay in the Word, prayer and in the presence of God. Otherwise we will be more prone to be trapped by the enemy and think it is God when it is not.
Remember what God has spoken through His Word and His promises to you. He is not a liar. If He tells you not to do something, then He has a better plan, and so when the enemy comes and tells you to get down off the wall and follow them you must stand and call the spirit out. Stand your ground and stay in your freedom. Do not be yoked with the enemy’s plans anymore.
5- The Joy of the Lord
Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not be grieved for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah had ample opportunity to become offended and think God had abandoned Him. So many times we lose our joy because we allow discouragement and doubt to take root. Nehemiah had read the law and the people grieved due to sorrow. But, this was a time for celebration.
We get caught up with things going on around us and forget that the Lord’s joy is truly our strength. It is still one of teh fruits of the ‘spirit’ and thus we should always be full of joy. God’s Word should cause joy unless of course we need to repent and it brings grief. But, still, that lasts only for a moment or a season.
God is in the business of restoration and we are His instruments of that. There is enough restoration that needs to take place in this world and the people of earth need to see some real, lasting joy. Nehemiah’s joy kept the workers going strong. His joy was like a beacon shing brightly so that they would not be deterred.
Do you carry that joy as a beacon or lighthouse for others, or do they always see you down and full of defeat, discouragement, and doubt? Today be free from those things and walk in the Joy of the Lord. After all, Jesus was full of joy when He went to the cross for you.