DAY 6: STUDY TIME!
All of the background character that we have seen and studied in Nehemiah now proves to be true as we dive into chapter 6. I could probably have titled today's study "Dang! More opposition!?" Yes, chapter six brings more, yet different opposition. Let's read it first, then look at a few things with me.
READ CHAPTER 6
Earlier, we see Nehemiah dealing with more annoying, distracting type situations, things that a good leader faces all the time, and doesn't have the time to engage. Now in chapter 6, Nehemiah's integrity is whats in question. Can you imagine someone coming to you (imagine your a leader over a huge church or something) and giving you a false prophetic word on purpose? As I was reading it, I thought, wow, what discernment Nehemiah has in verse 12 when he "perceives" that God had not sent the messenger at all. I mean, this was serious, if Sanballat & Tobiah were paying prophets to try to put fear in him. But Nehemiah's depth of knowing God is clearly seen here.
When the "open letter" goes out in attempt to fault his character, Nehemiah immediately knew it was false and was not double-minded about it. He didn't think twice, he immediately replied to the servant that it was all false, and whats more than that, he had the discernment to see behind the plot immediately.
On a side note, I read that John Huss, a Bohemian Reformer (1415), and William Tyndale (1535), and English reformer, both experienced similar circumstances. They were both at times lured into meeting with people who opposed their work, only to be burned alive & strangled. (Nehemiah, Man in Charge, Donald K. Campbell, page 54.
The people didn't believe the rumors or waver in following Nehemiah's leadership I believe for two reasons. First, Nehemiah addressed it immediately. There was no time for doubt to settle in their hearts. Secondly, his character was already proven by consistency, and therefore he was a stable leader they could trust. Being consistent is soooooooooo important. See you can't have consistent character overnight. This is lifetime, proven, tried, and found honorable "character".
If you were to hear a rumor about someone you know, would you believe it? I know your answer already- it depends on how well you knew the person, right? Thats the point. It takes time to get to know someone's character, and consistency is the key.
Reflections for Today:
Have you ever had to face accusation? Boy, have I. Many, many times. I can tell you one thing, it has really shaped my character. Many of the times, I was actually at fault. Immature things I said or did. Sometimes, I was not in the wrong. Ever known ahead of time someone was coming to confront you and you had to wait all day until that meeting? Whew. Confrontative accusation is not fun. But can I tell you that I am a better person now for it? In fact I think Ive gone through enough for someone twice my age already, but you wont develop you resolve as a leader with out a little accusation along the way. We are constantly being accused by our enemy, the devil, if no one else. How do we handle it? How have you handled accusation in the past with people? Has it helped develop you?
Ok, how about accusation from the enemy? One thing Nehemiah did not do, was stop and consider whether the rumors were true. He didn't even entertain it for a second! When the enemy accuses us (You know what I mean, those little thoughts inside your head saying, "You're not good enough, you'll never be able to pull that off, etc.) Do you listen to that for a minute? Do you entertain it? Do you recognize it as a lie immediately? In this hour God is calling us to REALLY know who we are. I mean REALLY know. You need to get familiar with the truth of who you are so you recognize the accusation immediately and denounce in consistently. Ok, Ill say that one last time, consistently. That means, "don't stop".
*on a side note, I may have to post a "Who Do You Think You Are" resource so you can declare what God says about you from the Word... ok, I'll work on that...
Father, tonight I thank you for opening my eyes and showing me how important it is that I know what you say about me so I can consistantly focus on what you've called me to and not get off track. Help me Lord to daily feed on the truth of what You say about me so I will stand strong and courageous in the midst of opposition. Give me discernment like Nehemiah that I may be wise and not doubt when accusations come my way. I thank You Lord for Your mercy towards me, strengthening me through Your Word tonight, in Jesus name, amen.