Finishing What We Start.
Nehemiah was almost done! Two months of grueling work, fighting opposition at every turn yet the wall was almost done, and his enemies knew it. So, they unleashed a series of various schemes to finally knock Nehemiah off course. Such is life, isn’t it?
The Guide: The following content is based on the message “Finish the Race” spoken on 11/11/12 by Brian Kruckenberg at New City Church in Phoenix, AZ. The following is not meant to be a full synopsis of the message but rather a brief look at the main ideas. For more context and understanding, please visit and listen to the message in its entirety. Leaders using this Study Guide for group study and reflection should read the Biblical text thoroughly before beginning, using this resource as assistance and not relying solely on this material for insight. We encourage all leaders to pray and ask the Spirit for revelation as they lead their respective communities.
The Scripture: Nehemiah 6:1 Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. 3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner. 5 In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. 7 And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.” 8 Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” 9 For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
10 Now when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night.” 11 But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” 12 And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me. 14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid. 15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.
The Main Idea:
Nehemiah was almost done! Two months of grueling work, fighting opposition at every turn yet the wall was almost done, and his enemies knew it. So, they unleashed a series of various schemes to finally knock Nehemiah off course. Such is life, isn’t it? We often find ourselves quitting right before we finish something…we are worn out, burnt out, and at the end of ourselves. “Fine, I quit!” Some reading this have said that…perhaps to a diet, to school or a marriage.
If you’re going through hell, keep going. -Winston Churchill
Why don’t we finish? Nehemiah resisted a few of the common pitfalls that many of us fall into:
- We get distracted by good things. We need to learn to say “NO!”
- We are unsure of our calling because we never spend enough time with God. Remember, Nehemiah started this journey after a 3-month season of prayer and fasting.
- We won’t commit! We live in a consumeristic and individualist culture and we are afraid to limit our options. Committed people succeed.
Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi
4. We listen to the lies of others. Nehemiah knew the truth.
5.We listen to the lies of the enemy. Nehemiah was faced with a false prophet yet he knew the voice of God! God never tells us to do something outside of His word and cowardice is always counter to the Character of God.
- What do you need to say “No” to?
- Why are you doing what you are doing? Have you earnestly sought God’s plan or are you executing yours…or worse, someone else’s?
- Do you have commitment issues? (come on, commit to an answer!
- Have you been a victim of slander and gossip? Have you given into it?
- Do you spend time with God so you can learn His voice and distinguish it from the enemies?