Nehemiah: Lessons In Building (Part 6)

Nehemiah 6

vs.1-9. The enemies here made repeated attempts to draw Nehemiah from the work but Nehemiah yielded not to temptation and thus avoided the trap that the enemies set  for him.

      A.  The enemies were desperate to do something before it was too late to stop the   work of God, and so identified with the devil. NEH 6:1-2 c/w REV 12:12.

      B. Satan is always devising means to take a man of God from his work, but good soldiers are wary of distracting entanglements. 2TI 2:4.

            1. The church of God is built and built up by     gospel preaching and teaching (MAT 28:19-20; MAR 16:15-16; EPH 4:11-12). Ministers and members do well to be cautious of involvement in invented forums, councils, debates, programs, etc.

            2. The saint of God has an individual duty of building also which should not be thwarted by "noble" distractions. Be it the building of faith in one's own soul or the building of a godly family, let:

                  a. every man prove his own work. GAL 6:3-5.

                  b. every man do his own business. 1TH 4:11.

                  c. every parent train their own children. 1TI 3:4-5, 12.

                  d. each provide first for their own at home. 1TI 5:4, 8.

                  e. the word of Christ dwell in each richly (COL 3:16), not the words, agendas and ideas of men which do not profit.   

 C.  Nehemiah could have decided that he could just leave his duty to go and  confront these troublers, but confrontation is not always expedient. 

            PRO 22:3; PRO 25:8.

            1. The Jews similarly tried to lure Paul out into the open.  ACT 23:12-15.

  2. Abel should always be wary of being drawn out into the field for "talks" with Cain. GEN 4:8.

      D. Nehemiah saw through their ruse, judging "...But they thought to do me mischief" (v.2b). 

            1. Nehemiah was not guilty of evil surmising or pre-judging, only of prudence. PRO 22:3.

            2. There are some whose characters are so historically and predictably dark that we do well to conclude that their overtures are not trustworthy. PRO 26:24-25.

 E. The ploy to draw Nehemiah out into the open and away from duty for dialogue having failed, the enemy then tried to get him tangled up in dealing with false charges of suspicious, self-promoting, seditious activity. NEH 6:5-7. 

            1. Such charges are 'stock in trade' of those who despise a good work  of God and His minister. ACT 17:7; ACT 24:5; ACT 28:22; LUK 23:2.

            2. We should not be surprised if charges of "cult" and "cult leader" were made.

            3. Sanballat's tactic may have been a not-so-subtle threat of potential legal action in order to frighten Nehemiah, since his actions could be construed by third-party observers as being malicious. 

                  a. There is seldom a shortage of wicked men who resort to unscrupulous legal tactics to frame "mischief by a law" (PSA 94:20).

                  b. We do well to "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1TH 5:22), but we are under no obligation to abandon good work because some might put an evil construction upon it. 

            4. Or, Sanballat's tactic may have been to inveigle himself into  Nehemiah's confidence by posing as a friend warning him about the implications of the appearance of his actions. 

                  a. NOTE: When it comes to a righteous building effort for the church or for the soul, we may expect that enemies of that effort will sometimes appear as "friends," like Judas. 

                  b. We may also find that worldly-minded friends will try to discourage us. c/w MAT 15:12; MAT 16:21-22. 

            5. Nehemiah's reputation was at stake. Matthew Henry observed,      "Suppose it was thus reported, we must never omit known duty merely for fear it should be miscontrued; but, while we keep a good conscience, let us trust God with our good name."

            6. Nehemiah shut down this gambit by a frank comeback and stedfastness of purpose and faith. NEH 6:8 c/w 1CO 15:58.  

  7.  The real attack was not against Nehemiah but against the work of God. v.9a c/w ACT 4:17; ACT9:4.

  8.  Nehemiah sought strength through prayer once more. v.9b.

vs.10-14. By means of a scare tactic, the enemy then tried to trip Nehemiah into a sin that  they could use against him. ECC 10:1; 1CO 9:27.

 A. Satan seeks to trip the child of God so that he may have wherewith to reproach him and thus to mar his witness. 1TI 5:14; TIT 2:8.

 B. Had Nehemiah been actuated by fear, he would have fallen into this trap.     PRO 29:25; EZE 2:6 c/w JER 1:17.

            1. But he said, "Should such a man as I flee?..." (v.11).

            2. Flight for fear's sake implies a hireling, not a faithful shepherd. JOH 10:12-13.

 C. Believers must take heed to control emotions such as fear. PRO 25:28.

      D. Nehemiah faced down this insidious tactic successfully also. His prayer in v.6 was answered.  

      E. Mind how Nehemiah dealt with all these problems through prayer; he prayed through this entire enterprise. 

vs.15-16. Despite the opposition, the work was finished.

 A. "So (under these circumstances) the wall was finished."

 B. The enemy was put to shame; they could not fight against God. EXO 8:19; ACT 5:38-39.

 C. Compare this chapter with 1PE 3:12-16.

vs.17-19. The enemy had an inside alliance.

 A. Family allegiances can often prove a snare in the work of God. ACT 15:37-39 c/w COL 4:10.

            1. Tobiah and his son had apparently married daughters of Israel. v.18.

            2. Matthew Henry observed: "See the mischief of marrying with strangers; for one heathen that was converted by it, ten Jews were perverted." 

            3. Believers do well to marry in the Lord (1CO 7:39) and be equally yoked (2CO 6:14; AMO 3:3) that they might be "heirs together of the grace of life..." (1PE 3:7). 

            4. Many are the saints whose building up in faith has been hindered or abandoned because of choosing an unbelieving spouse. 

 B. The reporting of Tobiah's good deeds was a ploy to intimidate Nehemiah.

  1. The report of Tobiah's good deeds would make Nehemiah look bad. 2SAM 15:1-6.

            2. Nehemiah was experiencing a common bane of principled national leaders: "nobles" in their land whose intercourse with foreign interests outweighs their national allegiance and whose media hijinks undermine the leadership.

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