Monday, September 20, 2010

Nehemiah 6:1-9

1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates- 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: "Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono."
But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?" 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written: 
 "It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: 'There is a king in Judah!' Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together."
8 I sent him this reply: "Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head."
9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed." 

But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands."

Questions to consider:
  • Compare the plans of Sanballat to undermine the Israelites’ defense and Nehemiah’s response.
  • What human emotions does the enemy play on?
  • What is the effect of fear on your ability to complete responsibilities God gives you? How do you combat fear?

Possibilities for prayer:

Nehemiah’s enemies are pretty persistent. When they are unable to get him alone into a position in which he can be harmed, they attempt to get all the Jewish people in a tight spot by spreading lies about what is happening in Jerusalem. Sometimes it seems like the hard things in our lives don’t go away very easily either. Just when we think we have overcome something, it crops back up again. It’s easy to get discouraged in such situations. But what is Nehemiah’s response when everyone seems “out to get him”? He prays. As always, Nehemiah stands as a great example of what our response should be in times of trial and tribulation. Instead of letting ourselves get scared or frustrated, we should calmly and boldly hand it over to God. Let’s try to do just that. Today, hand over something in your life to God, big or small, and ask Him to “strengthen your hands” to do His work.