Friday, June 6, 2008

Nehemiah - I Love the View from Up Here

In the Old Testament a man named Nehemiah was doing a work for God – repairing a breech in the wall surrounding Jerusalem. He put together a wonderful team of workers who worked tirelessly on the project. They worked with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other; meaning they were ready for work and ready for battle – which ever the moment called for.

This work was not without opposition. A group of people led by a man named Sanballat, caused trouble for Nehemiah every step of the way. Their hatred and jealously for Nehemiah reached such a frenzied state that they eventually hatched a plot to murder him.

One day Sanballat and his little band of followers came to the work site. While standing on the ground they shouted up to Nehemiah who was on top of the wall, asking him to come down for a “meeting.” It was a trap. Nehemiah flatly rejected their invitation and just kept on working!

His exact words to them were: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: WHY SHOULD THE WORK CEASE, while I leave it, and COME DOWN to YOU? (Nehemiah 6:3). I mean, he didn’t even stop long enough to come down off the wall. In fact, Nehemiah didn’t even speak to these critics himself – he sent a messenger instead! Nehemiah knew His work was too important to waste his time with these detractors and naysayers.

Eventually the project was completed. To celebrate, a worship service was organized. All the people were divided into two groups ON TOP OF THE WALL. One group, with a choir of singers and musicians started walking in one direction, led by Ezra. The other group of people, with another choir and musicians, headed off in the opposite direction. They walked across the TOP OF THE WALL, singing and rejoicing as they went, until they met in the center near the temple area. It was there that the service concluded with sacrifices being offered to the Lord.

And Sanballat? Well, he faded away.

Nehemiah must have been thinking, “I love the view from up here.”