Bible Survey on Nehemiah – Lesson 7

Nehemiah chapter 6 shows us a lot about the methods of the enemies of God.  And the shocking truth about how some will compromise and actually work with the enemies of God and in fact their own enemies.

The wall is getting close to being done.  The enemies of God are furious and tried to stop the work with threats and with a plot to sneak in among them and kill them.  God saw to it that the plot was exposed.

Nehemiah mounted a visible defense and the plot came to nothing.  So the enemies are not getting anywhere achieving their goal.  So do they stop?  No.  Do they decide to get right with God?  No.  Do they finally say let’s live and let live?  No.

They just change tactics.  In this situation since Nehemiah has the authority of the king of the empire all-out war would not work.  Killing a select few by sneaking in might have worked but that failed.  So brute force on a large scale is out.

So now what? Their hatred of God and His people is so strong that they can’t stop so they just change tactics.

Neh 6:1  Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) 

Neh 6:2  That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. 

They change to let’s talk this out.  Nehemiah sees right thru it.  He knew that it was a ruse and that they really meant to do him harm.

Neh 6:3  And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? 

He puts the work of God first.  Nehemiah knows their hearts are wicked and that they are not open to change.  So he is not going to waste his time and he is not going to give them the opportunity to hurt him and thereby hurt the work.

But would not the work just continue if they took Nehemiah out of the picture.  Maybe it would and maybe it would not.  All leaders do not understand how the enemy works like Nehemiah did.

After one refusal, the enemy is not deterred.

Neh 6:4  Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. 

He said no, so why keep at it?  Because there are many who will say no at first but they will give in if you keep at it.  Lobyists to congress know this.  They have gotten more than one senator to give in and take a bribe or give in to voting their way, just by keeping after them again and again.

There are many companies that have also given in to activists.  Not because it is the right thing to do, but because of the persistence.  Nehemiah is stronger than many.  He is a man of character and principals and keeps saying no.

So the enemies had Four no’s.  Time to stop?  No.  Time to change tactics.

We see this today a lot.  They enemies will be civil on the surface as long as they think you will fall for it, but when it becomes clear that persistence will not work it then gets ugly.

Neh 6:5  Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; 

I guess he wanted to make sure that it was read and not just thrown away.  He delivered it already open.

Neh 6:6  Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. 

Neh 6:7  And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. 

Here is a threat.  You come to this meeting or else we are going to report this to the king.

Report what.  Lies.

Neh 6:8  Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. 

Nehemiah and the Jews are not planning on rebelling.  Nehemiah does not want to put himself up as king.  The accusation is completely without merit.  They have no evidence.  They made it all up.

Kind of like what Hillary and the Democrats did with Russia gate.  The press took the position that because leaders said it that it must be true.  Nonsense.  If they read the Bible they would know that leaders are very capable of spreading lies and deceit just to get their way.

This is a lesson for us.  When you hear some leader spreading something nasty, stop and think.  Is there any proof.  Have some caution.  Leaders of people are very capable of making up terrible things.  And even baseless things can bring fear and trouble.

Neh 6:9  For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. 

Nehemiah does what he normally does.  Acknowledges the situation and prays about it.

So the plan to sneak in and kill some of them failed.  The asking for a meeting failed four times.  The threat of spreading lies to the King of the empire unless you meet with us failed.

So do they quit.  No.  Time to change tactics.

Neh 6:10  Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee. 

This one is devious.  We know from the Word of God that only Levites were allowed in the temple.  That is a privilege that they were given way back.  The reason was they were the only tribe that chose to serve God and stand by Moses when Moses came down Mount Sinai because they were worshipping the golden calf.

They were given the Ten Commandments verbally before Moses went up to get them on stone.  They knew that God said make no idols, only worship me.  And they broke them.  So as a visual object lesson of how they broke the commands of God, Moses throws down the tables of stone that God made and breaks them.

Exo_32:26  Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

No one else moved.  So God gave that tribe the privilege of serving Him in a special way.  Only the Levites were allowed to go into the temple.  Nehemiah of course knew his Bible.

Neh 6:11  And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. 

On the surface it would seem reasonable.  Nehemiah they are going to kill you.  Come into the temple with me and you will be safe.  Surely God would allow it because otherwise you will be dead.  It is ok to compromise to save your life.

Nehemiah said no way.  He realized that God is all powerful.  God is perfectly able to keep Nehemiah safe anywhere and God would not use means that are against His own rules.  The guy that made the offer was obviously a Levite.  He is supposed to be a man of God.  A man who serves God and was to teach the Word of God to others.

Sometimes the position of a servant of God does give an amount of credibility that others will just accept without question.  We should never do that.  It does not matter how popular a man is or how well respected.  We should always make sure what he is saying lines up with the Bible.

This man that was offering this solution to Nehemiah was not lining up with the Bible and Nehemiah knew it.

Neh 6:12  And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 

Neh 6:13  Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 

This man of God let the wicked Tobiah and Sanballat pay him to do this wicked thing.  He put money over the truth of the Word of God.  His greed was more important to him than following God.

What does Nehemiah do?  I think you already know.  He prays.

Neh 6:14  My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear. 

Did you catch it?  This was not isolated to just one Levite.  according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets.  Plural.

The fact that people in positions of religious leadership can be wicked is a Biblical truth.

The fact that they can pursue their own interests and not God’s is well documented in the Bible.

There are thousands and thousands of Methodists today who are just going along with wickedness in their organization simply because they are blindly following their leadership.

Nehemiah understood how things can work.  He refused to fall for any of it, prayed and made wise decisions.  The result was that the Wall Is Finished

Neh 6:15  So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. 

Neh 6:16  And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God. 

That is a little bit of a head scratcher to a saved person.  Anytime that we perceive that a work was wrought of God our reaction is Amen.  Praise the Lord.  We are thankful and joyful. I mean the Almighty creator moved.  It is a wonderful thing to us.

That is not the reaction of the enemies.  They were cast down in their own eyes.  They even admitted that this was God at work.  Do they get right.  No.

They change tactics.

They had tried and succeeded in buying off the prophets to try to get Nehemiah.  Something that would have hurt their own people.  That effort failed.

This time they work with nobles.

Neh 6:17  Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them. 

Neh 6:18  For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 

Neh 6:19  Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear. 

These nobles are willing to work for the enemy because of family relations.  I have no doubt that there were benefits to these relationships and that would end if they did not help.  So they were willing to work for the enemy of the people.  Willing to work toward doing harm.

Those that should have been supportive and helpful to the man who’s leadership is doing so much good.  Providing much needed protection for the people so they can thrive.

People who are in positions of power and not just that but people that should be on your side can actually be with the enemy.

This is an important truth.  Outward appearances can be deceiving.  Just because you are doing good for people and that they should be behind you does not mean that they are.

This is something that Trump never got.  He should have studied his Bible more.

This tactic never worked with Nehemiah, but it worked with Trump.

Bill Barr is an example.  He told Trump I am behind you, but he was not.  Trump put him in the attorney general position to clean up that agency.  Barr did not.

It happened again and again and again.  People would say the right things and get into the administration but not to be behind Trump, instead they would leak info and cause trouble.

They were like these nobles in Nehemiah’s day.  Working with the enemy.

This happened with the secretary of state positon, the person Trump sent in to clean up the CIA and the FBI, it even happened with the people he put in the Pentagon.

Once they figured out that Trump would fall for anyone who flattered him and that Trump would simply believe that they would be on his side, once they figured that out a flood of them showed up.

Not putting truly good, honest, faithful people into important positions was Trump’s Achilles heel.

Look at the qualifications that Nehemiah used to put people into important positions.

Neh 7:1  Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed, 

Neh 7:2  That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. 

Neh 7:3  And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house. 

Neh 7:4  Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded. 

Nehemiah chose Hanani because he was a faithful man, and one that walked with God.

How do you know if someone is faithful and if they walk with God.  That takes time.  This chapter is clear in its teaching that there are a lot of fakers.  A lot of compromisers.  A lot of people who will put personal gain over what is best for the people.

Hanani was not one of those.  Nehemiah knew him well, had watched him his whole life.  He had proved with his life that he was faithful.

This was the type of man that was needed.  The city was sparsely populated and yes it now had walls but it was still a mess.  The houses were not fixed yet.

They had a huge need for faithful men who walk with God to be in charge.

That is the same thing we need today.

The truths in this chapter should help us to not be fooled into the trickery of the enemies of God.  It should also make us aware of the ways that the enemies of God work, that they will be found as religious leaders and as nobles and people of leadership.  None of those positons make someone right.

It should also make us realize the need we have for more faithful men of God to be in positions of leadership.  And one way for that to happen is for more people to get saved.

See more Bible Survey lessons on Nehemiah