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 6:8 ESV
At this point in the building of the wall around Jerusalem, the enemies of the work resorted to threats, lies, and deceit against the city, the people, and especially, Nehemiah. They openly mocked the work, threatened the safety of the families, sent multiple letters to Nehemiah, and even hired a prophet to try to entice him to sin.
Yet none of these plots worked. At every new threat, Nehemiah resisted and relied on the Lord. Even when the enemies accused him of beginning a rebellion against the king, Nehemiah refuted it and plainly told them, “you are inventing these things in your own mind.” The work continued as he inspired confidence and encouragement in the people. Soon the wall was built, the Temple was protected, and regular worship and sacrifices took place again.
When we are truly doing God’s work in the Kingdom, the enemy is almost certainly going to attack. And it tends to come in waves of strikes, usually in the form of accusations, deceptions, and even attempts at personal smears of the leadership. Opponents of the gospel will devote hard work and energy to divide and discourage the people of God, and good, godly leaders will often experience great pain and suffering. Personally, I have experienced these attacks in the past and I expect that attacks will continue to occur until glory comes. That is, as long as I am not discouraged or dissuaded from preaching Christ.
But, as we did with my last post, let’s look again at Nehemiah’s responses to his opponents. When he was attacked, Nehemiah had a response of encouragement, a word from the Word. He was angry but did not sin. Instead, he stood firm, held to the task at hand, relied on the Lord and His people, and stayed pure as he avoided temptations to sin.
His example should be your example if you are under attack. Here’s a few practical responses you can take:
- Run to the Word. Check your motives and walk. Don’t let the accusations have any ground for truth by being in the truth of the Scriptures.
- Be confident in your calling. This does not mean to be self confident, but be “God confident.” Stay reassured that God’s calling in you is going to be completed, for “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).
- Stay free of temptations and sin. Everyone is going to sin, of course, but it is vital to avoid the intentional sins which so easily plague us. Nehemiah did just that, choosing to stay pure in God’s eyes, whether avoiding sin or even more importantly, being righteously angry and not sinning. You need to be no different in your lifestyle, but when you do blow it (and you surely will) repent and do better.
- Respond in a godly, firm manner. The best and only response is a calm, Christ centered response that places the gospel first and ego last. Let God work it out, because, well, He will. The means to again run to God, not standing on your own strength but on His power. This also means, of course, to stay connected with the Spirit in prayer and the Word.
Hope these are useful and helpful. Let me know if you have any other takeaways from this passage.
May the Lord use you greatly, suppressing the enemy and advancing His Kingdom. To God be the glory!