Discouragement and fear. One last shot. The wall is completed. Israel has withstood the constant threat of imminent attack from enemies to the north, south, east, or west. They had names – Sanballat, Tobiah the Ammonite, Geshem the Arab, and the Ashdodites.
Nehemiah 4:8–9 (The Message) 8 They put their heads together and decided to fight against Jerusalem and create as much trouble as they could. 9 We countered with prayer to our God and set a round-the-clock guard against them. (piety and practicality)(pray and do)
If they could eliminate Nehemiah, or even discredit him, they could mobilize their allies living in Jerusalem (6:17–18) and take over the city.
Their sole object of attack was Nehemiah himself – each designed to take his life or discredit him 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 vs of each episode (vv. 9, 14, 19)
vv 1-9 Gossip and Rumour
Nehemiah’s response: 8 I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” 9 They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.
Instead of being discouraged with intimidation hit back with greater determination.
Mentioned three enticements that take leadership down. A part of the Australian Christian Mentoring Network – speaking at a seminar on Mentoring Leaders and Emotional Health with Keith Farmer – he mentioned the three enticements that trap leadership but felt there is a fourth that is even more insidious and widespread – discouragement.
Mark Zuckerberg chief executive of FACEBOOK the executive meeting was going fine (around 7.00am Friday) till financial officer Dave Wehner addressed analysts and dropped one bombshell after another.
By time he’d finished the market had written off $135bn from company’s market value. That’s enough to discourage even Mark Zuckerberg.
Nehemiah, like many leaders, was blamed for things he didn’t do and criticized for things he hadn’t tried to do. He’s misquoted and misunderstood and rarely given the opportunity to set the record straight.
But it’s not just leaders plagued with discouragement.
Psalm 145:14 (ESV) 14 The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26) Hebrew no ‘may’ – flesh/heart fail.