That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. 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? Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. (Nehemiah 6:2-4)
That’s just like the enemy, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they change tactics. When Sanballat and Geshem saw that their taunts and ridicule were not affecting the people, they tweaked their approach. If they could pull Nehemiah away from the job at hand, perhaps the people would grow weary and stop working. You know, take the cat away so the mice can play. Yes, the people had a mind to work, but how long would that last if their leader disappeared?
Fortunately, Nehemiah was too smart for their plan. He knew that they had no intentions of sitting down for a friendly cup of tea. He was acutely aware that they were out to destroy him and his efforts. So, he told them “no.” Well, that didn’t sit too well with these men—a lowly commoner disregarding them in such a way. So, they continued to “request” his presence.
Notice Nehemiah’s response:
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?
I am doing a great work, and I can’t stop right now. That is the attitude we need to adopt if we’re going to rebuild the walls around our heart. No matter what comes our way—good or bad—we must avoid distractions! It is imperative that we awake every morning with the attitude that we are doing a great work, and we cannot and will not be stopped. We cannot afford to lose sight of our goal—to banish anxiety and depression from our lives once and for all. That task is great, so our determination will need to be great, as will our focus.
Sometimes the enemy’s attacks come as full-on assaults, but often they take the form of distractions. The urgent comes into our lives, causing us to lose sight of the essential. Or even the good floats in, pulling our attention away from the best. Whether in the form of something good or bad, distraction will hinder our progress, and we must be on guard against it.
Nehemiah refused to be called away from his efforts. We must do the same.
*Excerpt from Rise Up and Build: A Biblical Approach To Dealing with Anxiety and Depression