Nehemiah had enemies. They wanted to discourage him in the work that the Lord had given him. They invented stories to distract him, but they were not successful. The man that they wanted to destroy was a steadfast servant of God. He was also a man of insight. When his detractors feigned interest in discussing their concerns with him he was able to see that they intended to harm him. His response to their invitation was uncompromising: “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”
These adversaries did not give up easily. They sent to this great governor four times without success. Finally they increased their pressure against Nehemiah, suggesting that he was leading an insurrection against the Persians. They threatened to make a case against him. His response to their ridiculous charges: “You are inventing them out of your own mind.” His plea to God: “Strengthen my hands.”
His detractors still did not give up. They hired a man as an inside adviser to Nehemiah attempting to frighten the governor. They wanted him to flee for his life to the temple hoping to discredit him among those who were working on the wall. Nehemiah did not fall for it. He stayed on task and on message. He also turned over his enemies to the Lord’s justice.
All of the plots against this man of courage were unsuccessful. During this entire period of testing, the Lord’s people continued their work until the wall was finally completed. At that point it was time for the enemies of God to be afraid. They could not deny that the Lord had done great things for Nehemiah despite their concerted opposition. Though they had help in their evil plots from some of the nobles of Judah they could not achieve their goals. God saw His servant through all of these difficulties.
Perseverance in a good work is a gift from heaven. Jesus had plenty of it. He was building a new kingdom of God. Many powerful leaders wanted to stop Him. They thought that they had outwitted Him when He was dying on the cross. But all that happened that day was done not only by the hands of lawless men, but also according to the plan of a holy God. Evil men and angels wanted to trouble the Son of God. Instead their actions established Him as the Cornerstone of a new temple in the Lord. No weapon formed against Him or His servants will ultimately prosper.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, why must there be those who conspire against Your people? We are doing a great work, and it is a work that You have called us to do. Make us wise to know how and when to reply to the baseless accusations of those who seek to harm Your people. Help us not to run away because of the fear of men. We must do what You command, and not be unduly moved by the plots of those who seek to frighten us. You will make a good end to the work that You have called us to do.