Saturday, October 8, 2016

Nehemiah-The Bullies Tried to Smear My Name

By Mary Vee
Nehemiah 6

From Nehemiah's Journal

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My name is Nehemiah. I had been a servant in Babylon for a long time. I was cupbearer to the king. 

The king of Babylon sent me to oversee the completion of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. It's been twelve years since I arrived, and we are nearing completion. 

My job has been to encourage the men in their work rebuilding the walls, oversee plans, and work alongside those who needed help. I could tell my presence brought strength to the men. I didn't give up. So they saw they shouldn't give up.

I've told you in past stories about a couple of men who are making our lives absolutely miserable. Sanballat, Tobiah, and their army of fiends have tormented the Jews working on the wall with horrible insults. Since we've shown our solitary, the bullies have taken to picking on me. Sanballat sent me five messages trying to get me to leave the work to meet with a valley...many miles away. 

Really? Why would I do something so foolish?

On one of my walks, I went to the house of Shemaiah. The poor man was a shut in, which meant he was unable to walk or was too ill to leave his home. I wanted to encourage him. Spend a little time talking to help him feel better.

Shemiah lay in his bed and asked me to sit by him. He said, "We should meet in the house of God, inside the temple. While there, we'll close the doors tight." He looked toward the window. I did too, but didn't see anyone. "There are men who are coming to kill you. They plan to come by night to kill you. Please. Meet me in the temple. I'll help you hide."

His face had sincerity, but I knew better. This was a trick. A way to pull me away from the job God had given me to oversee the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. And how long did he expect me to hide out there? Long enough for the men to lose courage to fight the bullies? Long enough for the walls to stop being built? I think not. "Tell me, Shemiah, should a man like me run away? Should one like me go into the temple to save his life? No. I won't do it. I won't go. 

Even as I spoke, I knew in my heart God had not sent Shemiah to give me this message. He prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by hiding from the very duty God gave me. And when I hid, Sanballat and Tobiah would give me a bad name to discredit me in front of all the Jews who were working. Then they wouldn't listen to my instructions and encouragement. No. I refused. 

I would continue my work to complete the walls of Jerusalem as God has asked me to do and no bully will stop me.

Come back next time to see what happens.
sources: New International Version, New King James Version 

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