Death threats, false reports, and fear. All things that Nehemiah encountered in chapter 6. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem tried to scheme Nehemiah into coming to a meeting where they could harm him. This request happened four times! Finally, when they knew they wouldn’t be able to directly hurt him, Sanballat sent Nehemiah a letter that he was intending on using to report that Jerusalem was rebelling (yet again). Nehemiah’s response: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head” (6:8). The enemies were trying to use fear as a weapon to keep them from persevering in the work of the Lord.
So Nehemiah went to prayer and said, “Now strengthen my hands” (6:9).
Then Noadiah told a false prophecy because Nehemiah’s enemies had hired him to intimidate him and cause him to sin but Nehemiah discerned it and refused the advice and prophetic word because he knew that God wanted him to stand strong. Finally by the end of the chapter we see that the wall was completed! Nehemiah reports that “When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God” (6:16).
When was the last time people tried intimidating you or keeping you from what God wanted you to do with your life and skills? Today as you go into prayer, just remember that God has given us strength and will protect us. This does not mean that persecution is a sign of God not blessing someone, in fact it may be just the opposite! The blood of the martyrs has always been the seed of the church! And may their tribe increase!
God thank you for promising to never leave us and never forsake us. Give us perseverance to run the race and look unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. We recognize without daily surrender and the filling of your Holy Spirit that we are nothing. Give us the humility and wisdom that we need to have in order to serve you more diligently.
We also pray for those persecuted for your name around the world. Let them be an example of faith and the gospel that calls us to lay down our lives and carry the cross daily. You are good and we will praise you. Bless and expand your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven! In Jesus name, Amen.