Invitations to the plain of Ono

When Nehemiah received the report of the sad state of Jerusalem, See Neh., chaps. 1–6. he determined to repair and restore the city's wall. After praying earnestly, Nehemiah approached King Artaxerxes and was given permission to undertake the restoration. During the time Nehemiah spent in Jerusalem many attempts were made by his enemies to hinder the work, by ridicule, fear, lies, and treachery; but Nehemiah refused to be distracted by any of these things. His steadfast trust in God's wisdom and supremacy enabled him to overcome all obstacles and complete the work with rejoicing.

This Bible story came to mind in an unusual way when I was struggling with life and making little actual progress. In addition, I was having a physical problem that made standing and walking very difficult. "Oh no," I thought, "how am I going to cope with my duty at the Christian Science Reading Room tomorrow?" During the next few days I started to think about how many times in the previous weeks I had reacted to situations with "Oh no!"—"Oh no, not another disaster," "Oh no, not that old problem again," "Oh no, not another demand on me when I'm up to my eyes already," and so on and so on. That was when I thought about the Bible story and the invitations Nehemiah received to meet certain of his enemies in the plain of Ono. Neh. 6:1–4. Nehemiah recognized the invitations as yet another delaying tactic on the part of his enemies, and he replied, "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?"

Rules + work + discipline = freedom
January 2, 1989

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