Redeeming Life family,
If you haven't seen the richness and applicability of the Book of Nehemiah yet, I might have to wonder if you are reading it at all. Are you chewing on what God has given us here? Are you starting to like Nehemiah? I know I am.
As we open up Nehemiah 6:1-14, there are some things we really need to see.
First, even while the building project is almost done (all that's left is to hang the doors and gates), the enemy is still coming against them. The enemy of God's work is relentless!
Notice that the first approach this time is distraction. Sanballat and Geshem come up with a plan to have a meeting with Nehemiah at Ono, which is about 30 miles from Jerusalem. (If you have a map in your Bible that doesn't show Ono, it's near Joppa to the North West of Jerusalem.) What in the world are they doing? Is it that they want to have a conference to discuss their involvement in a partnership? Or maybe they want to have a face-to-face about their personal critiques of how Nehemiah is leading? If these are true, that will take Nehemiah away from what God called him to do for weeks. The entire project only took 51 days and they are right at the end.
But look at the end of verse 2. It says, "But they intended to do me harm." There's few things worse then getting separated from your godly community when the enemy is lurking. They wanted to kill the guy!
Their next approach was to send Nehemiah a letter that was brimming over with lies and false information. Now, we all know Nehemiah wouldn't buy it, but that really wasn't the method of attack. The message was sent in an open, unsealed letter. Why? So the messenger could read it. Would the messenger know what was true and what wasn't? In the realm of gossip and rumor it doesn't matter. It seems the intention was to discredit Nehemiah and the juicier, the better.
The next attack came in the form of hired false-prophets. They were called in to try to lure Nehemiah into sinning. He wasn't allowed in the temple because he wasn't a priest, but it seems this so-called prophet wasn't concerned with God's Law. "Let go hide in the inner part of the temple," the false-prophet said to Nehemiah. Could you imagine the public fall-out? Leaders live in the eye of the public and there are folks who are eagerly waiting to pounce on the first mis-step of the leader. They thrive on taking down leadership.
If you are leading God's people on a mission of God, you have to know that you will take some hits. Hard hits, often. This section of Nehemiah offers leaders a great deal of insight and instruction. We'll look at this on Sunday.
If you're not a leader, it's important to see what your leader is up against. He or she needs your prayers and support. And for good reason. We'll be talking about this on Sunday too.
I'd like to encourage you to read Nehemiah 6:1-14 in preparation for Sunday. I look forward to seeing you!
If you've never been with us for worship on a Sunday morning, we meet at the Northwest Community Center at 1300 E. 300 South. Come be our guest!
Soli Deo gloria!