As Persistent As They Are

Some people do not give up easily. Unfortunately the wicked often display more persistence than the people of God. It is revealing that in the Book of Nehemiah, Sanballat, Tobiah & Geshem, who were opposing Nehemiah’s work of rebuilding the Temple, did not easily give up their plan to lure Nehemiah out to the plain of Ono.

When Nehemiah answered the plotters in :3 that he was “doing a great work and cannot come down” because “they were planning to harm me”, they did not give up. Verse 4 says that they sent four times, seeking to lure him out. Then :5 says they sent a messenger to him a FIFTH time with an open letter in his hand. Those men were incredibly persistent in their attempts to entrap Nehemiah. But he said that he was just as persistent in his refusal to come: “I answered them in the same way.”

There are a couple of good lessons for us here:

Evil is persistent. If you win one victory over it, be assured: the battle is not over. Satan tempted Jesus three times in the wilderness, and even after the climactic refusal of the 3rd temptation, Luke 4:13 says the tempter only departed “until an opportune time.” The evil one did not give up his attempts to entrap Jesus, and he will not give up on us either. This is true both of our own personal temptations, and of the evil with which he insidiously corrupts society.

Because of that, our responses to evil must be as persistent as the attacks are. Nehemiah exemplified that. He did not throw up his hands after the four attempts to ensnare him and say, “Oh well, they are so persistent; I guess I am just going to have to go.” No; he was just as persistent in his refusals, as they were in their attempts to lure him.

This should characterize us as well. We need to be as consistent in our refusals of temptation, as the temptations themselves are. We need to be as persistent in our opposition to encroachments of evil, as the purveyors of evil themselves. They have no shame in their relentless assaults on righteousness; we must match them with a shameless holy persistence, and not grow weary in doing what is good.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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