Nehemiah 6:1-4 (NIV)
1 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- 2 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; 3 so 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?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
The story of Nehemiah is great. There are SO many lessons we can learn from this man!
Here, however, I want to focus (in Part 1) about “keeping your eye on the ball.”
We see that Sanballat, Tobiah, Gethem, and the rest of their enemies were trying to distract them. Distraction is a great tool of our adversary, the devil. If he can get us distracted, he has gotten our eyes off of Kingdom business.
Next, we see that these men came to Nehemiah under the cloak of friendship. How many times has someone been a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” for you? They seem to be your friend, but in reality they are just trying to manipulate you to their way of thinking. As Jesus said in Matthew 10:16 (NIV), “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” We need to be aware that our enemy uses this tactic of “friendship” to distract us from God’s agenda.
Lastly, we are reminded that Nehemiah knew his calling and purpose. He told them (verse 4) “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?” Nehemiah had no doubt about what he was supposed to be doing. He wasn’t to be playing politics. He wasn’t to be meeting with “naysayers”. Instead, he kept his eye on the ball–the calling and purpose God Almighty had given him.