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The Completion of the Wall

INTRODUCTION:  Sanballat and Tobiah had earlier tried to oppose the building of the wall by ridicule (Nehemiah 4:1-6) and conspiracy (Nehemiah 4:7-12). Now that only the gates remain to be set in place and the time is short (see Revelation 12:12), they increase their efforts even more. They first pretend to be willing to compromise and come to terms with Nehemiah in order to influence the progress of the work. Then, they make accusations of wrongdoing against the Jews. And, finally, they underhandedly attack Nehemiah on a personal level trying to catch him in a weak moment.

    1. The Job Nearly Finished (Nehemiah 6:1; compare Acts 26:28-29)
      1. The enemies of the wall keep up with the progress
      2. The news of the building of the wall
        1. The walls are built
        2. But the doors are not set (Nehemiah 3:3)
      3. Note: this is a time when many people relax. Although some critical elements remain, they are so simple compared to the bulk of the work already done. But the enemies of Gods work will not relax. It is important to keep vigilant at this time also. When a work for God is almost completed, you can expect one final push by the enemies of God to defeat its completion.
    2. The Call to a Meeting (Nehemiah 6:2)
      1. The invitation to a meeting
        1. By Sanballat and Geshem
        2. To meet in a village in the plain of Ono
      2. The purpose of the meeting
        1. To draw Nehemiah away from the work
        2. To do mischief to Nehemiah; they probably planned to hold or even to harm Nehemiah in order to discourage the people in their work
      3. The call to compromise is one of the chief ploys of the devil when it becomes apparent that he cannot destroy the work outright (2 Corinthians 2:11)
        1. The example of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:1-5; 2 Chronicles 18:1; 2 Chronicles 19:1-2)
        2. The warning of Paul (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
    3. The Answer of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 6:3-4)
      1. The greatness of the work (Nehemiah 6:3)
        1. I am doing a great work; Note: this was not a matter of pride but of conviction. It was the work of God and therefore it was very great (John 9:4; 2 Corinthians 4:1)
        2. I cannot allow the work to cease
        3. I cannot come down to you; Note: that to go to Sanballat and Geshem would be to go down
      2. The consistency of his reply (Nehemiah 6:4)
        1. Four requests for a meeting
        2. Four identical replies
  2. OPPOSITION BY ACCUSATION (Nehemiah 6:5-9)
    1. Accusing of Rebellion (Nehemiah 6:5-7)
      1. The last letter (Nehemiah 6:5)
        1. The fifth letter
        2. An open letter; that is, a public letter meant for all to hear. They are trying to sway public opinion.
      2. The supposed desire of Nehemiah to be king (Nehemiah 6:6-7a)
        1. A rumor among the heathen (Nehemiah 6:6)
        2. The purpose for the wall (Nehemiah 6:6)
        3. The preaching of the prophets (Nehemiah 6:7)
      3. The desired meeting (Nehemiah 6:7b; Proverbs 1:10-16)
    2. Attempting to Cause Fear (Nehemiah 6:8-9)
      1. A false report (Nehemiah 6:8)
        1. A denial of the report
        2. An accusation of falsehood
      2. A sturdy faith (Nehemiah 6:9; Nehemiah 2:18)
        1. The fears of the people
        2. The hopes of the enemies
        3. The prayer of Nehemiah
  3. OPPOSITION BY DECEPTION (Nehemiah 6:10-14)
    1. The Deception of Shemaiah (Nehemiah 6:10-11)
      1. Shemaiahs offer of protection (Nehemiah 6:10)
        1. A warning of assassination
          1. By his enemies
          2. In the night
        2. An offer of protection in the temple
      2. Nehemiahs refusal to listen (Nehemiah 6:11)
        1. Not a man to flee
        2. Not one to wrongly use the temple
    2. The Hire of Shemaiah (Nehemiah 6:12-14)
      1. Paid to prophecy (Nehemiah 6:12; Micah 3:11; John 10:12-13; Jude 1:11)
        1. Not sent by God (Ezekiel 13:3-6)
        2. Hired by Sanballat and Tobiah
      2. Seeking a flaw (Nehemiah 6:13; Daniel 6:4-5)
        1. That he should be afraid
        2. That he should commit a sin
        3. That an evil report might be made against him
      3. Turned over to God (Nehemiah 6:14)
        1. The enemies of the work
        2. The false prophets who lie
  4. COMPLETION OF THE WALL (Nehemiah 6:15-19)
    1. A Testimony to the Heathen (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
      1. Finished in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15)
        1. On the 25th of the Elul, the 6th month in the sacred Jewish calendar
        2. In 52 days; attesting to the quickness of the work
      2. Witnessing to Gods work (Nehemiah 6:16; Psalm 126:1-2)
        1. Defeating the enemies of the work
        2. Exalting the greatness of God
    2. A Continuation of Conflict (Nehemiah 6:17-19; see Acts 20:29-30)
      1. Those writing to Tobiah (Nehemiah 6:17)
      2. Those supporting Tobiah (Nehemiah 6:18)
        1. Those sworn to him
        2. Those related to him
      3. Those exalting Tobiah (Nehemiah 6:19)
        1. Reporting his good deeds to Nehemiah
        2. Reporting Nehemiahs words to Tobiah
        3. Sending his letters to create fear
  5. REGISTER OF THE FIRST RETURN (Nehemiah 7:1-73)
    1. The Charge of the Keepers (Nehemiah 7:1-4)
      1. The appointment of the keepers (Nehemiah 7:1-2)
      2. The protection of the city (Nehemiah 7:3)
      3. The weakness of the city (Nehemiah 7:4)
    2. The Numbering of the First Return (Nehemiah 7:5-73; compare Ezra 2:1-70); this is a look back of 92 years

CONCLUSION: Certainly, the Lord enabled Nehemiah and the Jews to complete the walls of Jerusalem. However, the leadership of Nehemiah was critical from the human viewpoint. The enemies of the wall threw everything imaginable at him, but he would not turn from the cause at hand. How much we should learn from Nehemiah’s example!

Memory Verses:

John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Nehemiah 6:3 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?