February 12, 2023
Keep Moving Forward In Spite of Distractions
Nehemiah - “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— 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; 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?’ Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.” (Nehemiah 6:1-4)
The Lord has great plans and purposes for us that He begins to reveal to us and make happen when we are willing to put Him first in our lives. The prophet Jeremiah writes, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.’” (Jeremiah 29:11-14) This is a great promise from the Lord. However, Life is always going to be filled with distractions that seek to keep us from pursuing and fulfilling the “steps to success” in our lives. If we want to accomplish anything significant in our lives, we have to stay focused in spite of distractions.
In Nehemiah chapter 6, we once again find Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem trying to sidetrack Nehemiah. They said, “Let’s have a peace conference. Let’s get together and discuss what’s happening. Let’s meet together in the plains of Ono (about 20 miles north of Jerusalem).” A peace conference sounds good, but Nehemiah saw through their distractions. He basically said, “Oh no! I’m not going to Ono. I’m carrying out a great project and I can’t go down. Why should I stop the work on the wall to meet with you?” Nehemiah would not be distracted until the work on the wall was finished.
Nehemiah was able to lead the people of God to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls in 52 days because he refused to be distracted. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem want Nehemiah to stop his work to have a discussion. But the time for discussion had passed. It was time to work. Do you know people who would rather talk than work and who want to have a discussion to stop you from working? That’s what’s happening here. Many people never accomplish anything because they keep talking about what they need to do instead of doing it. But Nehemiah saw that the efforts of these three men would delay the project. He said, “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 6:3)
There’s an old saying which says, “The ‘main thing’ is to keep the ‘main thing’ the ‘main thing.’” The reason why Nehemiah finished the wall is he wouldn't let anything distract him. He kept his eyes on his goal. They came to him four times. He said no each time. Whenever we are doing anything of significance, we need to follow Nehemiah’s example and do the same.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
Make a list of some of the greatest distractions you have had to overcome when trying to accomplish something of significance. What did you learn from those experiences? What would you do differently if you had to face them again? Pray and ask the Lord to help you as you move forward. If you’re leading your family through this devotion, dialogue with them about how to move forward in life in the midst of distractions. Then, pray as a family, asking God to help your family members as they face distractions.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, whenever distractions come my way, help me to stay focused on You and on whatever project You have called me to accomplish. In the name of Jesus, Amen. .