“So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?’ ” Nehemiah 6:3
The wall of Jerusalem is complete to its full height and there are no gaps anywhere in its entire length, though the gates have yet to be hung.
You’d think that seeing the project nearly completed that Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem would have given up on trying to stop the work but they haven’t. Once again they’ve changed tactics and this time their objective is to get Nehemiah off by himself so that they can harm him. To this end they send him messages asking to meet with him at a village nearly 40 miles from Jerusalem. Four times they send him these messages and each time he refuses so they attempt to bully him into coming away by accusing him of planning to set himself up as king.
Nehemiah’s response is to tell them that the only place where such plans exist is in their evil imaginations and that he will not go down.
I feel that God’s blessed me in that I’ve never lived or work in a place where I’ve had to be on my guard against personal danger because of the work I do. Yes, Satan does do everything he can to disrupt and distract the work of the church but to my knowledge no one has ever made any plans to personally harm me or my family.
At the same time, Nehemiah’s experience reminds me that, as leaders in God’s church, we’re important targets for Satan to set his sights on because if we’re removed from the work the work as a whole will be delayed for a time.
It’s not that leaders aren’t replaceable. No one does a work that others couldn’t do but it takes time to get new leaders to fill the vacancies and in the mean time the work languishes and souls are lost.
Brothers and sisters, whether we see ourselves as leaders or not, we need to prayerfully guard ourselves against being drawn away of the work God has called us to. Nehemiah’s consciousness of his calling and his unwillingness to be distracted by anything else were a part of God’s plan of defense for him.
But there is more that we need to do to shelter church leaders. Church members need to lift up their leaders in prayer, petitioning heaven to plant a hedge of protection around around them so that they will be shielded from attack and kept effective in their work of leading the church and building up the body of Christ.