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Nehemiah

Nehemiah 6 Summary

Nehemiah 6 Summary: We’re just finishing up the section in Nehemiah that started in chapter 2:9. Do you remember way back then? That’s where Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem after he heard of the Jews’ plight and after he petitioned King Artaxerxes to be able to come and rebuild Jerusalem and help his Jewish brethren. Then he arrives in Jerusalem. And immediately we heard about the opposition Nehemiah faced. And yet despite that opposition, Nehemiah took his secret midnight ride around Jerusalem surveying the wall. Then he came to all the Jews and told them his plan for rebuilding the wall. And they agreed to his plan and started the work. But in 2:19 we again hear about opposition. But the Jews just go ahead with their building project. In 4:1 the enemies mock the Jews and again the Jews continue the work. In 4:7 the enemies plot to attack Jerusalem and to stop the work that way. But Nehemiah catches wind of this development and leads the Jews to be constantly vigilant against the enemy. And when the enemies heard that the Jews learned of their plot to attack the city, the enemies kind of backed off for a little while.

And that led us to chapter 5, which we covered last time. And admittedly the placement of that chapter is a little confusing. Do you remember the content of chapter 5? That’s where the trouble wasn’t coming from outside the Jews’ camp. The trouble was actually coming from Jews oppressing other Jews. And so we saw how Nehemiah the godly leader dealt with internal conflict among God’s people. We saw that he feared God and loved God’s people. And this fear he had caused him to be completely just to God’s people. He didn’t allow them to oppress each other. And he himself wasn’t involved in any such oppression. Why, again? Because he… feared God. Keep that in mind. Because I’m wondering why chapter 5 is where it is. It almost seems to be just kind of thoughtlessly slipped in where it is. Why do I say that? Well, our lesson for today covers chapter 6. And in chapter 6 we again see external opposition. You can see the names of the opponents in 6:1 – Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, etc. So think of this – 2:9 to the end of chapter 4 we see external opposition. Chapter 6 also deals with external opposition. And chapter 5 is just kind of sandwiched in the middle there – not dealing with external conflict but with internal conflict. Why did Nehemiah decide to insert chapter 5 where he did and then continue with the theme of external conflict in our chapter for today? Look at 5:9. Nehemiah confronts the rich among God’s people who were oppressing the poor among them. And he says “ought ye not walk in the…” Fear of our God. Look at 5:15. Nehemiah wasn’t making full use of his liberty and position to live at the expense of the Jews over whom he was ruling. Why did he not make full use of this liberty? Look at the last six words of this verse. “Because of the…” Fear of God. Nehemiah then feared God and loved his people. And we should, too. And that’s great to know. But how does this relate to chapter 6? We’ll you’ll just need to follow along through the rest of the message to find out! OK, so let’s start into this last message in this section dealing with the opposition that Nehemiah faced.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verses 1-2

Let’s read 6:1-2.

KJV Nehemiah 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;) 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.

So Nehemiah is setting the scene for us. The cast of characters includes the three enemies he mentions in verse 1. These three aren’t new. We’ve seen them before. He also mentions “the rest of our enemies” – again giving us the idea that there was a list of these fiends which was too numerous to keep writing about. So we’ve got this great band of enemies of God’s people. And they hear something. They hear that Nehemiah rebuilt the wall. There was no breach left in it. And that’s what they heard. But the reality was that Nehemiah actually had yet to install the doors in the gate ways. So the gates were still open. And yet what the enemies heard was that the wall was rebuilt. So they change their tactic. They no longer are going to attempt to attack the city. No – with the wall in place that wasn’t advisable. They couldn’t easily enter the city. But they could draw people out of the city. And that’s why Sanballat and Geshem send a message to Nehemiah. They tell him that they’d like to have a meeting in the plain of a place called Ono. This was an area in Benjamin that was northwest of Jerusalem. Actually – you know me, I had to check – this is a real place currently in modern-day Israel. And if you type Ono, Israel and Jerusalem, Israel into any online map service you’ll see that today a car ride from one area to the other would take about 50 minutes to traverse the 41 miles between the two. We humans tend to walk at an average speed of 3 miles per hour. And at this rate a journey from Jerusalem to Ono would take over 13 hours. This then was a significant journey. I guess in a way Nehemiah would have been on his own turf, so to speak. Ono was in Benjamin and it seems that the Jews owned that land at the time. And yet such a long journey suggested by such avowed enemies as Sanballat and Geshem didn’t sit well with Nehemiah. And somehow – probably based on past incidents with this adversarial group – Nehemiah knew that they intended to harm him. And that’s not hard to picture. Imagine Nehemiah going off to Ono on his 13 hour trek. The enemies could have been waiting in ambush near the city and once Nehemiah left they could have just entered the city without much of a struggle. Or the enemies could have set ambushes along the way to Ono to kill Nehemiah. Or they could have waited until he got to Ono and then sprung their attack. Whatever their plan was, Nehemiah wasn’t buying into it. So with all this in mind, Nehemiah rejects their offer to meet.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 3

Let’s read verse 3.

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?

So Nehemiah’s response is predictable. He rejects their offer. He’s busy doing God’s great work. Why should he stop this work to come down and talk with these enemies? And really, have you pondered that? Why would Nehemiah want to meet with them? Why would the leader of the Jews who is building the walls of Jerusalem – why would he want to meet with the enemy? It’s not like they could or would contribute anything to him. He knows they’re up to no good. What could Nehemiah possibly stand to gain by meeting with them? So he rejects their offer. He says he’s not going to come down to them. Come down? I thought Ono was northwest of Jerusalem. Shouldn’t he say, “come up?” Actually Jerusalem is highly elevated so that no matter where you go from Jerusalem, the direction you go is typically “down.” So he’s not going to come down to them. How do the enemies take this rejection? They’re desperate. They know this is their last chance.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 4

Let’s see their response in verse 4.

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

The enemies don’t get the hint. Three more times they send the same old message to Nehemiah and three more times he responds similarly to how he responded at first. So you can imagine after this that the enemies would get the hint.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verses 5-7

And they do in verse 5. Let’s see how they respond.

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

So Sanballat can tell his overtures to Nehemiah aren’t being well-received. So he sends a fifth message. This time he sends it with his own personal servant. And the servant has an open letter in his hand. I think this indicates that others would have known the contents of the letter – like an open letter today. Today these open letters usually are published on the internet for all to see. The addressee is named, but whether that guy actually reads it or not, everyone else has the opportunity to read it. And I’m not sure how the servant would circulate the letter to other folks, but somehow I imagine that he did. So when we read the contents of this letter remember that not only is Nehemiah reading it. All of his fellow-Jews are reading it as well. And what does the letter say? The letter is making unsubstantiated claims about the leader of God’s people and threatening to report these claims to the king of Persia. There are these supposed reports from the nations (heathen). Further Gashmu is willing to substantiate these reports. Before we go on, who is Gashmu? It’s Geshem the Arab. It’s sort of like the difference in English between William and Bill or James and Jimmy. Geshem can be called Gashmu. And these reports claim that the Jews are planning to rebel. And this is why they’re rebuilding the wall. And Nehemiah furthermore wants to be their king within their walled capital. At least that’s what these trustworthy reports claim. And actually, according to these Gashmu-certified reports Nehemiah is appointing prophets to proclaim his kingship! And Sanballat is threatening to send these reports along to King Artaxerxes. And so Sanballat ends with this renewed appeal to meet together in Ono. You can imagine how Nehemiah and his people may have reacted to this letter from Sanballat. How would they feel? Lies are being circulated about their leader and their work. They’d want to defend themselves and their leader. They really were doing nothing wrong. The king himself had authorized their work. And yet, would the king believe the Jews or their enemies? Well, Nehemiah at least doesn’t let on that this letter from Sanballat swayed him at all.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 8

Look at his response in verse 8.

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.

I love it. This should be our theme verse for 2014. There were some foundational facts used in this letter that were true – the Jews really were rebuilding the wall and Nehemiah really was their leader. But Sanballat took these facts and cast them in the worst light possible. So the wall is being rebuilt, yes. But it’s being rebuilt SO THAT the Jews can rebel against the king. And Nehemiah is the leader of the Jews, indeed. But really he intends to usurp authority from Persia and be the king of the Jews! And Nehemiah has stirred up the prophets to proclaim this to everyone! And you know what? Sanballat can find other enemies of God’s people to substantiate this claim – remember old Gashmu, for instance? He’s willing to substantiate these claims and even to put his name to these reports. The rest of the witnesses – well they’ll just remain anonymous under the label “the heathen” or “the nations.” Who knows who they are? Does it even matter? In light of Sanballat’s false attack I love Nehemiah’s response. You might want to make that your life verse if you’re constantly facing false accusations by people opposed to God’s work through you. “Sanballat, nothing of what you say is true. You’re simply inventing all this stuff in your mind.” And that’s all Nehemiah says. Nehemiah outright denies the verity of Sanballat’s reports. And he frankly states that Sanballat is just imagining these things. That’s it. This isn’t the only way we can respond to false accusations by our enemies but it is one way – “what you’re saying simply isn’t true. You’re making it up.” Now, what motivated Sanballat to insinuate this falsehood against God’s people and their leader?

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 9

Read verse 9.

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.

This was Sanballat’s desire – that all the Jews, not just Nehemiah, would become frightened. Then hopefully the Jews wouldn’t have the strength to continue God’s work. So perhaps by now with the sending of messengers and such, the enemies knew that the Jews didn’t yet have the doors up in the gates. So the Jews still have some work left to do. Let’s stop them, thought the enemies! It’s our last chance!

So the enemies of God’s people wanted Nehemiah and the Jews to fear them. After all the enemies had the power to give this damaging evidence – these reports – to the governing authorities. Ah – do you remember the question we were seeking to answer from earlier in this message? How do chapter 5 and chapter 6 relate to one another? Chapter 5 is about fearing God – Nehemiah did it. And now in chapter 6, who are the enemies wanting God’s people to fear? God? No, them. The enemies wanted God’s people to fear men. And yet, we already know that Nehemiah feared God. And therefore he would refuse to fear men. And this consideration brings us finally to the title of this message and I think the message of Nehemiah 6 — To accomplish God’s work you must overcome the fear of man. And this is what Nehemiah did. And how did he avoid fearing man? Chapter 5 – He feared God first and foremost and loved God’s people.

Now, Sanballat accused God’s people and their leader of a few things. One was that they were planning to rebel. The other was that Nehemiah planned to be their king. And do remember what Sanballat said Nehemiah was doing to promote this notion that he was their king? Nehemiah was having prophets proclaim that he was the new king in Jerusalem. Let’s keep this in mind as we look at the next scene from verses 10 through 14.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 10

We’ll read verse 10.

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.

So Nehemiah apparently is visiting a shut-in named Shemaiah. The name of his father and grandfather are given, but they don’t really help us establish this man’s identity. And why is he shut-in at his home? We don’t know that either. He’s kind of a mysterious man up to this point. It’s possible he was experiencing some disability – whether temporary or permanent. One Hebrew lexicon suggests he was perhaps ceremonially unclean or fulfilling a vow. Whoever this man is and whatever his situation, we at least know that he has a dire warning for Nehemiah. Shemaiah urgently proposes that he and Nehemiah enter the temple together and hide themselves there. Why? Because Shemaiah apparently knows that the enemies are coming to kill Nehemiah and they’re going to do so at night. But wait. If this guy is a shut-in how does he know what the enemies’ plans are? We’ll find that out in a few verses.

Now, how do you think Nehemiah would respond to this warning from Shemaiah? Let’s think about Nehemiah’s situation. Let’s just assume Shemaiah is absolutely correct and the enemies are coming to kill Nehemiah at night. Would hiding in the Temple help? Remember – the doors in the gates aren’t installed yet. The enemies can come right into Jerusalem through those gates. What good would hiding in the Temple be to Nehemiah? What would keep the enemy from entering into the city and going right into the Temple to slay him there? No, Nehemiah’s only hope if the enemy were to attack would be to arm his fellow Jews and keep a constant watch just like we saw them doing a few chapters ago. So how does Nehemiah respond to Shemaiah?

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 11

Let’s keep reading verse 11.

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.

So Nehemiah refuses to go into the Temple. Fleeing is not an option for this man. Going into the Temple would not save his life. In fact it would endanger everyone for him to run away and hide. There are many times where God’s people simply cannot afford the luxury of fleeing their situation. They need to face the enemy head-on. So why did Shemaiah give such bad advice?

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 12

That’s what Nehemiah discovers in verse 12. Let’s read it.

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.

Nehemiah didn’t need to think at all whether Sanballat was trying to harm him earlier in the chapter. He would have expected threats and danger from Sanballat. But Shemaiah was a fellow-Jew. Nehemiah should have been able to trust him. And look – he’s actually a prophet – that’s how a man who’s shut-in could apparently know of the enemies’ plans without needing to go outside of his home. So this prophet utters a false prophecy against Nehemiah. Why? The end of verse 12 – Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. But why? What were these two enemies trying to accomplish by hiring Shemaiah to give a false prophecy against Nehemiah?

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 13

Nehemiah explains that in verse 13.

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.

Now it’s all coming together! Do you remember Sanballat’s original false accusation of Nehemiah? Nehemiah was supposedly having prophets proclaim that he was the king of Judah. But of course Sanballat had no proof of that whatsoever. So he hires a shut-in prophet to try to lure Nehemiah into the Temple. The Temple is the site where at least once that I can recall a king was installed in Judah. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine what might have happened if Nehemiah would have accepted Shemaiah’s offer. He and Nehemiah would have entered the Temple. Just then Shemaiah may have burst back out through the door of the Temple with a shofar proclaiming that Nehemiah was the new king. Nehemiah of course would have been baffled as to why Shemaiah was doing this. I’m sure he would have tried to stop Shemaiah. “Wait, no, stop that. I’m not a king!” But it would have been too late. The witnesses would have seen and reported to whomever had hired them. Nehemiah would have been set up. The enemies would have an evil report against him and would reproach him. And did you pick up on the fear factor again? The enemies wanted Nehemiah to be afraid of them. And if Nehemiah did fear them this whole string of events would occur – he would enter the Temple, etc. But this godly leader never let that ball get rolling. He feared God as we saw in chapter 5 and therefore he didn’t fear man and what the enemies could do to him. And Nehemiah’s refusal to be afraid saved his life and saved God’s work in Jerusalem. So Nehemiah refused to fear man. Instead he took this concerning issue to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 14

Let’s read about that in verse 14.

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.

I think this is amazing. Not only does Nehemiah need to call God’s attention to Tobiah and Sanballat and their evil deeds. And furthermore it’s not just Shemaiah that’s trying to sabotage God’s work through God’s leader. Actually Shemaiah is joined by a whole company of so-called prophets who are doing what? Trying to frighten Nehemiah! It’s unbelievable. Here’s a godly man like Nehemiah trying to help God’s people. He didn’t need to leave his comfortable job in the capital of Persia to come to dusty old Jerusalem to help God’s pathetically weak people. But he did this so selflessly. And some of those among God’s people who should be the most mature and helpful and on-board with the plans of God’s leader actually turn out to be his worst enemy. Brethren, let this be a warning to us. The most spiritually knowledgeable among us are still liable to fall. We need to take heed lest this happen. We each need to be striving to be a help and a blessing to the leader God has given us here in this assembly. Let’s not any one of us be found joining hands with the enemies of God’s people. Let’s not destroy the work that God is doing in this assembly.

Well you know, with all this talk of opposition you’d think there wasn’t much actual work getting done on the wall.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 15

If that is what you think, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear the news of verse 15!

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

Let’s just quickly talk about the chronology of Nehemiah up to this point. The only other reference to a specific month we’ve had thus far is from chapter 2 where Nehemiah makes his request to Artaxerxes to return to Jerusalem. That happened in the month Nissan which is the first month in the Jewish calendar – it overlaps our March/April. Then Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem which would have taken about 4 months. So then we should be in about the 5th month in the Jewish calendar. Nehemiah then started the work on the wall sometime early in the month of Av which is indeed the 5th month. Av overlaps our July/August. And 52 days later in the month of Elul Nehemiah finished the wall. So this is sometime around our August/September – the 6th month in the Jewish calendar. So the chronology that Nehemiah presents to us is accurate. And it’s fun to be able to trace.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m fairly impressed with this sequence of events. I mean, 52 days to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem is pretty amazing if you ask me. Personally, I’m struggling just trying to figure out how to replenish the mortar between the stones on the exterior of my house! So for me, to complete the restoration of a whole wall made of stones in 52 days causes me to take notice. And I’m not alone in my sense of astonishment.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 16

Let’s read verse 16.

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.

The enemies of God’s people were greatly disheartened. All along these 52 days they thought they could thwart Nehemiah’s plans. They really didn’t think the work would get done. They thought they had the upper hand and that they could discourage God’s people and their leader from finishing the work. But the enemies were wrong. And what disheartened these enemies in particular? They saw that this work was brought about by the God of the Jews – the only true and living God. I guess they hadn’t planned on the Jews having a real God who can see and hear and act on behalf of his people. It’s easy for the enemies of God’s people to discount us. We’re weak. There aren’t many wise or noble in our ranks. We don’t have many political elites in the church. God has chosen the foolish and the base to receive forgiveness and to enter into his kingdom. And because these are the kind of folks that make up God’s people you can understand why the enemy thinks little of us. We are weak. And nothing we might attempt to accomplish should naturally succeed from a human point of view. But that’s why God gets all the glory whenever he does some mighty work through us. It’s evident when God’s work is accomplished amongst God’s people through their leaders that God is ultimately the one behind the work.

What a happy ending! God’s people overcame their enemies. They did God’s work, led by the man God would have to lead them. And the result is two-fold – the enemies were disheartened and some from among the enemies as we’ve seen joined themselves to the Jews and their God… But you know what? Nehemiah isn’t much for happy endings. He’s a realist and the reality is that in this life, reality does not often include a happy ending. So we heard that the enemies lost heart. But that doesn’t end their animosity to God’s people and in particular to their leader.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 17

Let’s read about it in verse 17.

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

Now I’m not sure what “in those days” means. Is Nehemiah saying that this all happened before the wall was rebuilt? Is he saying this happened after the wall was rebuilt? I’m not sure. But what I do know is this. Nehemiah intentionally put this account of Tobiah after he mentioned the wall being rebuilt. So whether Tobiah and the nobles were in cahoots before and/or after the wall was rebuilt – Nehemiah wants us to get the sense that he faced relentless opposition – even after the wall was rebuilt. It just didn’t stop. The enemies of God’s people can be tenaciously persistent in their opposition.

And does this not frustrate you? The nobles were in league with Tobiah. The nobles – those who were supposed to be noble, like their label would indicate – those who were probably more well-to-do than the average Jew – those who were strongly confronted by Nehemiah in chapter 5 for charging usury to their brethren – those folks who seemed to repent and agree to do right – who even took an oath that they’d do right –  these folks were corresponding with the enemy. Why? Why were they corresponding with Tobiah?

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 18

Read verse 18.

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.

So Tobiah had some family connections with the Jews – and the nobles in particular. Now this wouldn’t have been the case if the Jews would have simply obeyed God and stopped intermarrying with foreigners who were hostile to God and his people. And this reminds me of when Ezra came to Jerusalem. Remember how the people reported that the Jews were marrying pagans? What did they say? They said that the higher-class folk were among the worst offenders. And this unhappy “marriage” – pardon the pun – was one result of the nobles’ disobedience to God’s word – this strange mixture of God’s people and their enemies. So Tobiah married a woman who happened to be Shechaniah’s daughter. Shechaniah was the son of Arah. And Arah was a man who apparently returned with Zerubbabel back in Ezra chapter 2. Furthermore, Tobiah’s son married the daughter of Meshullam. We saw this guy working on several places on the wall of Jerusalem. But he gave his daughter in marriage to the son of an enemy of God’s people who would like to see that very work stopped. And usually the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So I imagine that Tobiah’s son shared many of the beliefs of his father and was probably antagonistic to the idea of the Jews following God’s commands.

Can we just step back and think of how bizarre this situation truly is? The Jewish nobles stood to gain a great deal from Nehemiah’s leadership. With Nehemiah they had a man who was working to strengthen them. Nehemiah was paving the way for reforms that would see the Jews following God and separated from their enemies. The enemies – Tobiah included – on the other hand wanted to see the Jews weak and unable to defend themselves. The enemies wanted the Jews to continue to sin against their God and thus be continually on the receiving end of God’s chastening. Nehemiah wanted to free the Jews from this. And yet to whom do these nobles turn? To their godly leader Nehemiah? No. They apparently miss Tobiah. They feel obliged to write to him. “Dear Tobiah, We sure miss you since our oppressive new leader came to town. We hope to see you soon. Love, The Nobles.” Maybe the Nobles think that Tobiah could still have a place in Jerusalem. Maybe they think that Nehemiah is too hardline in distancing himself from God’s enemies and not allowing them a place in the religious and social life of God’s people.

Nehemiah 6 Summary
Verse 19

And I think maybe this is why we see the Nobles do what they do in verse 19.

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

The Nobles tell Nehemiah about all the good that Tobiah has done. I’m guessing this is an attempt to influence Nehemiah to allow Tobiah back into their lives. But what kind of effect might this situation have on Nehemiah? Can you imagine this godly leader’s struggle? He knows the Jews need to stop being influenced by Tobiah and folks like him. At the same time he understands how they’re connected to Tobiah because of unlawful intermarriage. And furthermore Nehemiah can recognize that Tobiah is still made in God’s image and isn’t as completely evil as he could possibly be – he does have some good works to speak of. And yet Nehemiah as the leader ultimately before God needs to prevent Tobiah from influencing the Jews in any way, shape, or form with his ungodliness. This was an unpopular stance for Nehemiah to take. But it was necessary… In our present situation sometimes it’s those of us who know the most who want to advocate for some of the most ungodly things. And praise the Lord if God’s people have a godly leader who will put his foot down and risk being despised and betrayed by his own people in doing what he knows to be right. God help us to accept the instruction and scriptural limitations our own godly leaders place before us.

And how does this story end? Tobiah hears of Nehemiah’s words relayed to him by his buddies the nobles. And Tobiah sends letters to Nehemiah… in order to do what? To frighten him. Sometimes the enemies of God’s people and their leader – they just don’t quit. Praise the Lord for a leader who won’t bow under the pressure to fear man. Praise the Lord for a man who will lead God’s people to do right. God help us to not discourage such men. And God help us to personally overcome the fear of man to accomplish God’s work.

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