Eternal God, all things come from You, and in You all things exist. Thank You that I live in Your sight and by Your grace.
Read NEHEMIAH 6:15—7:3
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.
“You’re blessed when you can get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world” (Matthew 5:8, The Message).
When you set out to do something for God, you can expect antagonism from those who do not care for his honor. However, encountering opposition from John, who sits next to you at church, or Mary, who is in your small group, is hard to endure. All too often, the work of the kingdom is undermined by those purporting to pray for it.
Ever vigilant and prayerful, Nehemiah uncovers a subtle strategy which tests the successful completion of the project. Through commercial contracts and through marriage, Tobiah has nurtured a fifth column among the nobles of Judea. On the surface, these business agreements can bring economic benefit to the country, and family networks through marriage might strengthen diplomatic relations. Yet Nehemiah understands that these bonds appeal to the personal greed and ambition of prominent families. They do not serve the whole community. They also ensure that the nobles’ first loyalty is to an enemy of God’s work. By this means a two-way stream of information is leaked and used to wear Nehemiah down. His tenacious watchfulness recognizes propaganda for what it is. Further, instead of relaxing once the wall is complete, he ensures that the city gates are well-guarded against attack.
We are such complex creatures. We declare we are “on the Lord’s side” (Exod. 32:26, KJV), yet in the practical outworking of it we can dress up our personal ambitions and prejudices as principles. Our good deeds can disguise compromised allegiance. Nehemiah’s unselfish leadership and clarity of vision are powerful defenses against attack and distraction. His instinct for single-minded devotion ensures that the surrounding nations acknowledge God’s enabling in the building success. God’s goodness is broadcast to a watching world.
In your daily living and service, how are you “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16)?
“Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name” (Psa. 86:11).
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