Vs. 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.” What a fascinating chapter in seeing a glimpse of the schemes the enemy attempts to use. The ridicule seemed to not work, so the enemy tried some different tactics. Nehemiah was discerning enough to say no, but the enemy would continue to send the same message unti they realized it wasn’t working. On the fifth message they (Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, etc.) concocted an outright lie stating they knew that Nehemiah was planning on becoming King. But Nehemiah would stay resolute and not allow the distractions of the enemy. But, here is where it gets interesting…the enemy would employ one of Nehemiah’s own in Shemaiah to convince him his life was in danger and to flee to the safety of God’s temple. The magnitude of this scheme was to discredit Nehemiah (vs. 13) and therefore crush any hope and strength God’s people were gaining as the completion was near. Even after the walls were completed, the enemy would continue to try to intimidate Nehemiah.
Regarding application…Courage. Vs. 11, “But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” I love it! Nehemiah was a courageous person who would not allow lies & intimidation to hinder him from God’s work. Nehemiah knew God’s law well enough to know that going into the temple was against the law (Num. 3:10)…but in the face of fear, he could have easily made justifications. Jesus is both a picture of the Lion and the Lamb. And in this instance, like Nehemiah…we are to have the courage of a Lion. I recently saw “The Wizard of Oz” again and the comical relief is the cowardly lion. It’s a oxymoron. It seemed ludicrous that a lion would be scared of the little dog ToTo….but the Lion had forgotten what he was made of. While we are to be followers and dependant on the Shepherd, we are also to be as courageous as Lions in the heat of battle.