A Short Study of Nehemiah 6:3

“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?”
(Nehemiah 6:3)

When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, and the Jews’ enemies heard that Nehemiah was being used of God to build the walls of Jerusalem, that there was no breach left in the wall, they were determined to undermine the work and destroy Nehemiah’s usefulness, and destroy the work God raised him up to perform. Sanballat and Geshem sent word to God’s servant, calling him to come down from the work Jehovah had trusted to his hands and meet with them.

These men were not interested in Nehemiah, his work, the glory of God, the people of God, or the house of God. They had no interest except themselves. Therefore they tried to do Nehemiah mischief by getting him to come down to them. Nehemiah was not taken by their snare. He refused to stoop to the level of his foes. He would not come down to them. His reasoning was magnificent. — “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?”

Every servant of God in every age would be wise to follow Nehemiah’s example. I say to every man called of God to preach the gospel, let no one turn you aside from the work to which God has called you. There is no work on this earth so great, so needful, so magnificent as the preaching of the gospel of Christ. It is ours to seek the LORD’s sheep, to bring Christ to sinners and bring sinners to Christ, to serve God’s elect, to build His church and His kingdom. We must devote ourselves entirely to this great work, and renew that devotion with every rising sun, for there are many devices by which Satan would call us down from the wall; and he makes them all appear to be both legitimate and needful.

Controversies arise and we feel compelled to put them down. Why? We try to convince ourselves and others that it is for the glory of God. But if nothing is to be gained for the good of men’s souls, if nothing is brought forward to comfort and edify God’s saints, if nothing is done for the salvation of poor, lost sinners, how is God glorified? Leave the controversies alone and preach the gospel.

Another ploy of the devil is slander. When wicked men, like Sanballat, feign out of their own wicked hearts (Nehemiah 6:9) slanderous accusations against you, ignore them. Do not attempt to defend the honor of your name. Our business is the honor of God’s name. You can never defend yourself from the assaults of men without leaving the work God has trusted to your hands, without laying aside the work of the gospel (prayer and study) to do so.

How many Satan has pulled off the wall of service in the cause of Christ by the “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things” (Mark 4:19). The children need more things, your wife needs more attention or you crave property, financial security, or a little ease of life, those legitimate things other men pursue. All those things you can have, if you want them; but not without coming down and leaving the work God has given you.

D. Fortner

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