And I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease…
The Christian has a great work to do for himself, working out under gospel influences his own salvation with fear and trembling. It is great in regard of others. We are not merely children of God going home to glory; but we are fellow-workers with God — keepers of beacons to imperilled mariners in a dark night of storms — oarsmen of a lifeboat out on the wild ocean saving drowning souls from destruction. Yea, we have a great work in regard of our glorious God and Saviour. We may not understand it, yet we are assured by God Himself of the truth that more than in all His works of creation and providence is there manifestation made of His manifold wisdom in this work of salvation. Every soul saved on earth by our human instrumentality is a radiant diadem in the many crowns of Jesus. Moreover, like Nehemiah, we are doing this great work in the face of strong antagonisms, and against the insidious opposition of enemies striving to hinder us. Alas! how many are the Sanballats and Tobiahs of the world! I am not railing at the world itself, for it is a good world for Christian work — a world whereof we are to make the most; and the pleasures and honours and riches of it, when accepted as gifts of God and used for His glory, are among our mighty means of grace, whereby our own souls may be edified and Christ's kingdom enlarged. I am thinking now of the world as used by Satan to hinder Christian work — those scornful words or seductive arts of temptation, and, I repeat, they are many. Pleasure comes to the scene of Christian labour with all-bewitching beauty and bewildering blandishments, and she pleads for sensual indulgence, and would draw the worker for Christ forth and down to the fair plains of Ono. Avarice comes with jewels of great price, and keys offering coffers of untold wealth in the stronghold of Mammon. Ambition comes, in the pomp and glory of an archangel, fallen from heaven, and points to a perspective of surpassing splendour, with shining palms and triumphal processions, outflashing diadems and uprising throne. With these and many other specious beguilements come the great adversaries of the soul and the Church. They plead with the Christian worker as he builds the walls of Zion, crying eloquently and earnestly, "Oh, come down and meet us in some plain of Ono!" And to all this our reply should be just that of Nehemiah, "I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down." Oh, fellow-worker with God in this glorious salvation, take to your heart as the inspiration of your lives this strong argument; rise to a comprehension of the magnificent part you are acting in the face of the universe; of the vastness of the issues you are working out for God! Say to the assaulting tempter, "Let me alone. I am working — working. I am working out my own destiny. I am striving for a guerdon in the skies grander than the Conqueror's. I am working for others — for the beloved of my own house-hold — my child, my parent, my brother, my friend. Oh, do not hinder me! I am working for a world — a world for which the Son of God bled in the garden — died on the Cross! See! see! that world rolls like a shattered wreck on the stormy seas of time, and I am keeping the beacon aflame! Oh, hinder me not! Nay, more, I am working for Jehovah — that God who, when I was lost, sent His own Son to save me."
(T. L. Cuyler.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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?