Lord, keep me faithful in prayer and help me to be aware of You in all things.
Read NEHEMIAH 6:1–14
 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it-though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates-  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;  so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”  Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.  Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter  in which was written: “It is reported among the nations-and Geshem says it is true-that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king  and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”  I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”  They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”  One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you-by night they are coming to kill you.”  But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!”  I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.  He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.  Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophet Noadiah and how she and the rest of the prophets have been trying to intimidate me. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow does Nehemiah handle Sanballat’s attacks?
The phone rang as I settled to write. It was yet another recorded message offering all kinds of heating solutions that I didn’t need. I decided enough was enough and pressed the key to complain to someone. The line went dead. But I had been provoked into making a response. Not like Nehemiah! He does not rise to bait thrown to him in the shape of repeated messages from his enemies (3,4). He knows they are scheming to harm him, but he does not lose his focus. Each time he calmly sends the same reply. So Sanballat tries a new ploy. He sends an unsealed letter, thus an open invitation for others to read. The plan was that the rumors would spread, destroy Nehemiah’s reputation and cause unrest and fear. No smoke without fire. Are we strong enough to stand up for God, on our own if necessary? We need have no fear if we follow Nehemiah’s example. He focuses his prayer on what he really needs—strength in his hands to get the work done (9). We too need that kind of vision and directness.
Set out to accomplish what God has put in your heart to do with focus and prayer.
Lord, whatever distractions come, help me concentrate on the work You have called me to and strengthen my hands.
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