Nehemiah 6                       Subtle opposition Pt 1

We have at different times all experienced outright opposition a strong perhaps violent reaction to something. However it is way more easily overlooked when the opposition is subtle. Cloaked as it were in other requests or other things. A discussion a decision a small correction or slight tweak can all be opposition wearing different clothes.

11 But I said, Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.

We have reached the final stages of the rebuilding of the wall. In fact the wall is finished except for the setting of the gates vs 1b I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates). 

Now a message comes for those who have been opposing the rebuilding all along.

2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono. But they intended to do me harm.

The opposition of Sanballat and his cohort has switched tactics from out right violence and treats to deception and subtle tactics. Now we can see some of the subtle ways our enemy tries to deceive and spoil Nehemiahs efforts.

There are 4 ways recorded here… 2 x this week 2 x next.

1* 6:1-4    (Kidnap Nehemiah).

They had failed to destroy and halt his work on the wall, so now they pursue a different track to bring Nehemiah down personally. Cut off the head to destroy the body.
in Vs 2 they suggest a meeting. Nehemiah has discernment into there intent… But they intended to do me harm.

Nehemiah is resolute he will finish his work and he is unwilling to bend to the desire of others before Gods plan for him. Four times he refused…

3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you? 4 And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.

They just keep chipping away hoping for a different response
* Would we change our mind faced with this… do we stick to the path after so many requests to stray from it?

2* 6: 5-9  (Attack his character).

5 In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written, It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. 7 And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, There is a king in Judah. And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.

They attack his character to see if he would change his response to there request… In an unsealed letter open to all to read and draw conclusions from, they make accusations about Nehemiahs intent and character.

This is subtle and treacherous they accuse him of rebellion a crime punishable by death. Were I in this situation and I have had my name and character muddied at times I would be tempted to clarify the situation to assert innocence to talk with them and demand a withdrawal of such false allegations.

Here again we see Nehemiahs spiritual discernment he gives them no such satisfaction
8 Then I sent to him, saying, No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.

Nehemiah knows there is no basis to it and shows that his sense of worth is based in God not in what man says. He sees behind this tactic to the intent of it all 9 For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done. But now, O God, strengthen my hands. 

They are trying to intimidate and frighten him and the community he recognizes this and is man enough to seek Gods strength to get through it. O God, strengthen my hands. 

* He is afraid but strong in God.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.  Abraham Lincoln

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

“Religion is the possibility of the removal of every ground of confidence except confidence in God alone.”  Karl Barth

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln