Perhaps you have heard the expression, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” When we read today’s text, we find a different expression used by Nehemiah’s enemies, that is just as unbiblical, and used just as much if not more than the statement above, it goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, lie about ‘em.”
Nehemiah had withstood all of the attacks of his enemies. The tactics had changed, but Nehemiah was able to continually adjust his methods and remain unaffected by the onslaught of the enemy. Most recently the enemies had crafted a subversive invitation to Nehemiah trying to prey on the human desire for recognition and prestige, but he had thwarted their plan because he had the character of a godly man.
Now the tactic shifted, and they sent a message to Nehemiah saying they were going to write to the king who had personally commissioned Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem and build the wall. They were going to tell the king that Nehemiah was trying to usurp the king’s authority. They were going to spread evil rumors about how Nehemiah was power hungry and deceitful.
Concurrently with this news, they hired a man who called himself a “prophet.” This man went into Jerusalem and told Nehemiah that Jerusalem was going to be attacked that day and that Nehemiah needed to hide.
This two-fold lie must have been quite a bother to Nehemiah. But his faith never wavered. Very soon, he was able to see through the deceit of the false prophet. Nehemiah could see through the empty threats and deception. He relied on God. He didn’t need the affirmation or acceptance of God’s enemies.
When faced with opposition we sometimes find ourselves accused with a set of lies. This is usually unsettling, since none of us enjoy being lied about. But instead of engaging in a vicious conflict of character-slashing and verbal assaults, with a godly character like Nehemiah, and firm trust in a just God who will judge all wickedness, let us confidently stand our ground. Do not waver in your faith, rather, like Nehemiah, look to God to be your strength.
Food For Thought: What two lies did Nehemiah’s opposition use against him? Why did Nehemiah not get sucked into their trap?