Nehemiah is the story of solving a hundred year problem in 52 days. The walls of Jerusalem had been trashed when the Babylonians had conquered what was left of Israel. Now in 52 days they are rebuilt. Over the preceeding times there might have been people who wished for therebuilding, dreamed of it even. It took Nehemiah’s leadership to get it done.
He was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes and had received news of the continued deparate state of Jerusalem – he grieved, he ached, he wept. But most of all he prayed. He prayed for 4 months! (The time between Nehemiah 1:1 and 2:1, when he finally told the king). That shows us that the spiritual battle is usually greater than the material battle.
Prayer is vital – we have prayer teams using Zoom during this UK lockdown and we will be joining again with thousands across the world for prayer again too…
He then planned, asked boldly, went, envisioned the people, started work, fought, encouraged and stood strong. Now in chapter 6 they complete the task.
As Hudson Taylor once said there are three stagesto every great work of God – impossible, difficult, done.
In chapter 4 they experienced violent threats, in chapter 5 internal threats between the rich and poor and now it is nearly finished, Nehemiah and the people experience further opposition.
V1-4 Intrigue from Sanballat and Tobiah with subtle deception and innocent sounding appeals. Nehemiah’s response – I am doing a great work and can’t come down.
v5-9 next they start spreading rumours and innuendo about him. Anyone in any form of leadership or doing anything for the Lord will experience this – people questioning otives without asking, spreading lies and rumours. Spurgeon addressed this in two ways in “Letters to my Students”
<em>Falsehoods usually carry their own refutation somewhere about them, and sting themselves to death. Some lies especially have a peculiar smell, which betrays their rottenness to every honest nose…. Your blameless life will be your best defence, and those who have seen it will not allow you to be condemned so readily as your slanderers expect.
Yet there are exceptions to this general rule. When distinct, definite, public charges are made against a man he is bound to answer them, and answer them in the clearest and most open manner. To decline all investigation is in such a case practically to plead guilty, and … the general public ordinarily regard a refusal to reply as a proof of guilt.</em>
Usually ignore rumours as they will die out, but sometimes they need to be addressed.
On this occasion Nehemiah answered v8 and prayed again v9!
v10-14 Intimidation. A prophet in lockdown, Shemaiah, starts to “prophecy”. Nehemiah discerns he has beenhired by the enemy v12. Prophecy must also be weighed along with the character of the prophet, then and now.
Again Nehemiah speaks out and hears God that it is wrong and carries on boldly.
v15-19 Lastly the enemies try infiltration
They see the job has been done in 52 days and areafraid because they see the hand of God in it. Sadly the enemy , Satan, doesn’t pack up. Tobiah a nominal half-Jew has married a prominent Jew. He’s a businessman who has done deals with the people of God and having infiltrated the ranks carries on trying to intimdate and spread fear through letters. Scripture doesn’t tell us what Nehemiah did with the letters, probably filed them where I do!
What has inspired you from Nehemiah’s get it done leadership?