Nehemiah's Discernment
(Nehemiah 6)

 

1 Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 

2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm. 

3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" 

4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. 

5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. 

6 In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. 

7 And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, "There is a king in Judah!" Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together. 

8 Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart." 

9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done."Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. 

10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you." 

11 And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!" 

12 Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 

13 For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 

14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid. 

15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 

16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God. 

17 Also in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. 

18 For many in Judah were pledged to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 

19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.

                                                     <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

1a Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies.

Israel had many enemies. It is bad enough to have one enemy, that is looking for your downfall but to have many, must be very uncomfortable. You have to be extra alert when attack is coming from every quarter.
Especially when your enemy hears or sees that you are prospering. This is usually when they step up the pressure.

This is what was happening here to Nehemiah and the Jews in Jerusalem.
When Sanballat and Tobiah,
Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies, saw that the walls were almost finished, they realised that if they did not strike now, it would be too late.

1b heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 

Nehemiah had resisted the threats and encouraged the people and they had completed the walls.
Now, we see a new approach by Sanballat. Threats had not worked, it was time for the enemy to become more devious. Sanballat realised that he had to move quickly now, before the gates were hung.


2. that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono."
 

This is where men of God need discernment.
On the surface, this could have been mistaken by Nehemiah as a gesture of good will, maybe Sanballat had got the message, he could not win, he could not stop the work of the Lord.

Some people may have fallen for this tactic, as many would do. Maybe this was an acceptance of defeat or an attempt of reconciliation.
However, Nehemiah read through this. With discernment, that was obviously given by God, Nehemiah knew that this was just another ploy. 

Nehemiah was not naive, on the contrary, he was anything but.
The opposite of Naive is shrewd, astute, alert, attentive, on your guard and wise. Again, this is a God given discernment, it can come through experience but it can also be God given to a younger person of  the Lord.

Nehemiah saw through the subtleness of his enemies.


2b. But they thought to do me harm. 

Christians should always guard against naivety. Leaders in particular are susceptible to attack, there are always those that are looking for the downfall of a Pastor, Elder or a Superintendent. Leaders tend to have an invisible target on their backs and very often through jealousy or just a mean spirit, are very open to attack.
This is not only limited to leaders but it applies to any Christian who is doing the work of the Lord.

There are always those that are nice to your face but are planning your demise.
This could be looked on as being cynical but it is essential that we exercise discernment.
Subtlety is Satan’s main characteristic.

 

Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.
 

It is important that just like wisdom, discernment is something that we need in our fight against evil.
The ability to be able to judge between right and wrong motive. It is the ability to see the good, where someone else might see it as bad, or bad where others see good.
It is seeing beyond the physical exterior and seeing as God does, the inner man.
In the Christian walk, this is a gift that comes from God.
1 Corinthians 12.

Some people may call it intuition or a gut feeling but for a Christian, it a gift to be able to discern a right motive .

The more we familiarise ourselves with God’s word, we are far more equipped to discern right from wrong.
Discernment is something that develops as we grow older in the faith and feed on the meat of the word.


We each need to pray for discernment, just like the psalmist.
 

Ps. 119:66 “Teach me good judgment and knowledge” .

Nehemiah was obviously a man who knew the word of God.
 

Hebrews 5:12 – 14 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Just like in life, younger Christians are more susceptible to being seduced by false teachers and leaders, falling for the outward appearance and not seeing the dangers.

Without discernment, Nehemiah could have fallen for this subtle trap, thinking that it was an offer of peace and reconciliation but he saw through it with God’s help.

3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" 


Notice the wisdom of Nehemiah’s answer. Not only did he not fall for their scheme but he did not even stop working.
The devil tries to distract us from the work of God, if he does, he’s won.
We must also be aware how persistent Satan is, he continues to try and break down our resistance.


4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. 

5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. 
 

Satan is quite persistent. If we defeat him once, he just changes tactics. We can certainly have victory over Satan and evil. When we do, that is no time to rest on our laurels. Satan doesn’t like defeat. And when we do win victories over him, he simply redoubles his efforts. If there’s one thing Satan is not, it’s a quitter.
Often Satan keeps tempting us in the same sin time and time again, he knows our weaknesses and when we are at a weak moment, this is when he attacks.
These are the times we must be wary and diligent. Because if we give in, we’re likely to end up worse than before. Never let down your guard!


Jas 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

Luk 11:21  When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 
 

Verse 5. - An open letter. Letters in the East are usually placed in silken bags, which are then tied up and carefully sealed. An "open letter" invited perusal; and the object of sending this one "open' must have been to create alarm among the Jews, and to excite them against Nehemiah. 

Who knows, who had read the contents of this letter.


6 In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumours, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. 

7 And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, "There is a king in Judah!" Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together. 


When Sanballat’s plan failed to work, he just changed tactics.
He made false accusations, allegations of rumours, this was to try and instil fear into Nehemiah.
However Nehemiah did not fall for this one either. He knew that no matter how many people say something, it still does not make it true.
The threat to report these lies to the king did not disturb Nehemiah, because he knew there was no truth in what was being said.
Lies are lies, no matter who or how many say them.

Nehemiah knew that these were just tactics to marr the work of God on the wall.
 

8 Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart." 

For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done."Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. 


Again, Nehemiah does what he always does, he commits it to God and asks for strength to overcome this attack.
 

10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you." 

11 And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!" 


In verses 10 and 11, we see the internal attack once more. Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, a secret informer.
He tried to tempt Nehemiah into sin by entering the temple. Nehemiah knew this was wrong and how it would be perceived by the people.
Only priests were allowed in the temple, and Nehemiah was not a priest. He would have been disobeying God if he had done what Shemaiah suggested. In
2 Chronicles 26,  King Uzziah - who was not a priest - went into the temple, and God instantly struck him with leprosy.
Of course Nehemiah resisted this temptation because he saw through it.

 

12 Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 

13 For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 


Shemaiah was a false prophet and again Nehemiah needed discernment to recognise it.
We also should always be alert to false prophets today. We should be so educated in the word of God that we too can recognise false prophets and false teachers.

Nehemiah reacts in the same way as he had done previously, by handing them over to God for judgement.

 

14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid. 


Their plans failed because of Nehemiah’s faith and strength in God.
 

15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 

 

This is a great testimony to God. The work completed in two months. Amazing, that it took half the time to do the work, than it did praying and planning the work.

Nehemiah prayed from the month called Kislev (
Nehemiah 1:1) to the month called Nisan (Nehemiah 2:1),  four months.

16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God. 

The old adage says, “Birds of a feather flock together” and they certainly had done here.
Sanballat, Tobiah, Noadiah, Shemaiah, Geshem and now all the nobles.

It was like the social media of the day. Everyone gossiping and praising Tobiah for his good works. Nehemiah knew the truth about Tobiah, he wasn’t exactly what he was appearing to be and all the time Tobiah was send letters to try and frighten Nehemiah.

 

17 Also in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. 

18 For many in Judah were pledged to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 

19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.


The account of all this ends here. Nehemiah wrote no more about this situation. He wasn't interested in changing the nobles minds about Tobiah but he wasn't going to deny what he knew to be true about Tobiah either.
He seems willing to let things lie and let God take care of it.

Nehemiah was more interested in the work of Lord continuing and that work was not really going out to fight people like Tobiah.
He could leave the Tobiah’s alone, as long as they weren't attacking the work of God.

For Page Word Search. Click Ctrl + F
 
 Return to Blog List                                                                            Copyright 
©  Teleios Bible Blogs 2017                                                
 Comment on this  Blog             
 
(Please name the Blog)     
This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now