The Enemy’s Plot
6 Now when it was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, to Geshem the Arab and to the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall, and that no breach remained in it, although at that time I had not set up the doors in the gates, 2 then Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together at [a]Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to [b]harm me. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way. 5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in the same manner a fifth time with an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and [c]Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports. 7 You have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning [d]you, ‘A king is in Judah!’ And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports. So come now, let us take counsel together.” 8 Then I sent a message to him saying, “Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them [e]in your own mind.” 9 For all of them were trying to frighten us, [f]thinking, “[g]They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
10 When I entered the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was [h]confined at home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night.” 11 But I said, “Should a man like me flee? And could one such as I go into the temple [i]to save his life? I will not go in.” 12 Then I perceived [j]that surely God had not sent him, but he uttered his prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me. 14 Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these works of theirs, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the rest of the prophets who were trying to frighten me.
When Nehemiah’s enemies tried to scare him with their threats, he rightfully turned to God. Since the king may or may not have believed the false reports, his favor could not be relied upon. But God would give Nehemiah the strength and courage to continue His work no matter what happened.
Too often we give in to fear, or even worse to worry and anxiety, which is just fear of what might happen, or might not. But God is our strength and our refuge, our “ever present help” in times of trouble. We can always depend on Him to give us the courage we need.
No trouble can come against us that He will not help us withstand, and that’s not subject to the whims of a king or politician. While we often need help from others, don’t put your faith in any man (or woman) to help you solve your problems, but lean on the arms of the one who gave you breath in the first place.