Lynn Swart: Sermon on Nehemiah 6:9-14
For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. 10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and 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; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.” 11 And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” 12 Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.
Whenever God wants to build, there is always opposition: INSIDE and OUT! Fear comes to take hold of our spirit, and freezes us.
FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real!
Don’t succumb to that false evidence. God wants to strengthen us in faith, not yield to untrue statements. Someone’s saying ‘it won’t happen. you’ll give in – you have weak hands.’
When fear comes – I can REACT or RESPOND TO GOD. Nehemiah knew the nature and character of God. Not just as information but a revelation in our lives. So we don’t try to fight like for like.
Nehemiah lifts his GAZE and he lifts his HANDS yielding to a higher strength. lift your hands! Nehemiah went to Shemaiah’s house and it was a house full of fear and intimidation – a trap. There were enemies outside AND inside.
Not every message, however spiritual it sounds, is from God. We need discernment.
‘Let’s go to the temple.’ What could be holier than that? BUT this ‘prophet’ was shut in. Self-preserving, and not joining in the work.
And he says, ‘They are going to kill you. Let’s hide in the temple.’ But only the Levites were allowed in there. It was not Nehemiah’s PLACE. He’d have stepped out and been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Prophecy from God when done RIGHT – gives life. But it can also be LETHAL. If it comes out of a place of fear.
How do we test a prophecy?
1. Test the character of the ‘prophet-’ Do they walk the walk? Or just talk the talk.
2. God will never violate his written Word.
Nehemiah could smell a rat because he knew the fragrance of heaven.
So he STANDS – and refuses to run away. And then he prays… focusing on the Lord. about ALL the false prophets.. because he only wanted the truth.
The work WAS completed – in record time. And if WE can hold our ground, and have our arms strengthened, we will see many miracle moments!
We need to be:
1. Convinced in purpose; knowing what I’m called to
2. Committed in vision: if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it.
3. Constant in prayer: let intercession & intimacy be part of our rhythm.
4. Courageous in your journey. And EN-courage others. Add courage to them!
Note: image above from http://www.janeng.com/portfolio2/rotk_01.html