Opposition from all sides.
Trust in God and keep your powder dry – Oliver Cromwell
Someone once said, “There are three kinds of people in the world – those who don’t know what’s happening, those who watch what’s happening, and those who make things happen.”
Romans 15:4 (NLT) Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises.
Prayer – bookended by prayer
The power of repentance –
Returning from exile – been disobedient as a nation/individuals
Conflict – “God had brought their plot to nothing” (4:15).
Heart of God for marginalised and the downtrodden – justice
Serving in public square – cupbearer, wall builder, governor.
Spiritual renewal – The spiritual revival came in response to Ezra’s reading of “the Book of the Law of Moses” Neh 8
The good hand of God – as capable a leader as he was, Nehemiah’s work is eclipsed by God; the “good hand of God”
Nehemiah has had opposition from outside the camp to inside the camp (ch5) to now life-threatening opposition from outside – it has gone to neck level, literally.
Their sole object of attack was Nehemiah himself – each designed to take his life or discredit his effectiveness as a leader.
Three Schemes of Intimidation – to frighten or threaten someone
Witness three incidents of intimidation (6:1–9, 10–14, 17–19) – they are linked by the repetition of “to frighten us,” “to make me afraid,” or “to intimidate me,” – verb “to frighten,” last verse of each episode (vv. 9, 14, 19) [translated in NLT as intimidate]. Throntveit
vv 1-9 Gossip and Rumour
Nehemiah 6:1–9 (NLT) 1 Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. 2 So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, 3 so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” 4 Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply. 5 The fifth time, Sanballat’s servant came with an open letter in his hand, 6 and this is what it said: “There is a rumour among the surrounding nations, and Geshem tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. 7 He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, ‘Look! There is a king in Judah!’ “You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me.”
Even with all the opposition the work of God continued to advance, and the wall was rebuilt, but they were yet to set up the doors and gates. And Judah’s enemies – Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the arab and the rest – they had one last shot: take out Nehemiah by destroying his credibility with gossip and rumour.