Mondays with Nehemiah

An Enemy That Doesn’t Give Up

When reading chapters 6 and 7 of Nehemiah, I have to admire Nehemiah’s leadership, his discernment and his courage in the face of so much conspiracy.

The first conspiracy that Nehemiah encountered was to distract him from the project he had come to do. The enemies united and tried their very best. And what they came up with was an invitation for a meeting. Harmless, right? What could be wrong with that? But Nehemiah was alert and he trusted his God and spend a lot of time in prayer, alone and with his people. He was able to see through this distraction and through this conspiracy.

Bill Hybels applies this to our lives as follows: “Satan is always lurking and luring us away from God’s best plan for our life, forever conspiring to pull followers of Christ away from what matters most. We need to be on guard for this tactic of distraction. It can come in the form of a hobby that consumes us, too much time in front of the TV, obsession with our work – anything that fills our hours and days so that we don’t have the time to do what God most wants us.” (Overcoming Challenges by Bill Hybels with Kevin & Sherry Harney)

When the enemies saw that Nehemiah would not meet with them, they tried a different route: They sent an open letter with false accusations. The purpose of this letter? To spread lies and rumors and with it destroy Nehemiah’s character and reputation. Here is what Nehemiah did: “I replied, ‘There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.’ They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.” (Nehemiah 6:8-9)

So when all this didn’t work, they’ve got something else up their sleeves: “The third type of conspiracy is deception. An old-fashioned clandestine operation was hatched, intended both to damage Nehemiah’s reputation as a leader and tarnish his standing as a man of God. It involved paying off a prophet to deceive Nehemiah with a false message that would pressure him to compromise his leadership. One thing that made this conspiracy possible was that a pipeline of information flowed back and forth between people who wanted to see Nehemiah destroyed and some of Nehemiah’s own colleagues.”  (Overcoming Challenges by Bill Hybels with Kevin & Sherry Harney)

And again Nehemiah was able to see through this conspiracy. He says of himself in Neh 6:13 “They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. They they would be able to accuse and discredit me.”

Looking at Nehemiah, I kind of want to scream: Isn’t that enough of intimidation?!?! How much more will you have to go through? When is this going to end??

And then I am reminded of times when I asked these same questions. There have been times where enemies seemed to come from all sides and corners, and it was not just dripping. No,  it was pouring!

It’s in times like these that I pray more, I read my Bible more, and my faith grows. Last year I memorized some verses from the book of James. And those verses just came to mind:

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2-4 New Living Translation

Wishing you a Happy Monday and have a great week everyone!

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