It is well known, that when frontal attack doesn’t work, the next thing to try is deception or lies. Nehemiah’s enemies turned cowards when Nehemiah and his men armed and prayed, the hardest part seems to have passed. The fight, however, was still not over, and the enemy tried three different types of deception techniques to overtake Nehemiah and his work.
The first one was negotiation, a fake “let’s be friends” offer. Sanballat and Geshem sent a message- let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono. But they were planning to harm Nehemiah. It can be flattering when an enemy invites us on their team. But it is a time to be careful. Nehemiah kept focused on his work, and sent them a message. “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” If you are doing God’s work, and an enemy is trying to distract you, to get you to meet them on their plain, consider carefully, and continue your work.
Sanballet kept on asking four times, but Nehemiah refused. On the fifth time, the message was longer. He sent an open letter: “It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports. You have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, ‘A king is in Judah!’ And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports. So come now, let us take counsel together.” Sanbellet falsely accused Nehemiah, and continued to make up convenient lies, “let’s talk about it” he finishes. The enemy will make up stuff, and spread it, “oh, what everyone says about you” he’ll say, “and you know what will happen now?..” all in an effort to get you to cooperate. Nehemiah is still strong, “Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind.” Don’t let the enemy lie to you with that common “everyone says” lie.
Finally, Shemaiah, a Jew, one of Nehemiah’s camp, says to him: “You should hide in the temple, they are coming to kill you.” Shemaiah, however was hired by the enemy, to discourage and frighten Nehemiah. Nehemiah was able to see through it, and replied “Should a man like me flee? And could one such as I go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.” “I will not run” he says, “I’m not one to run for my life” Perhaps the last and hardest trial will be betrayal of a friend. Or, maybe it will be well- intentioned “don’t be hard on yourself” advice. Whatever it may be, be strong! Don’t run!
Read the whole story in Nehemiah, chapter 6.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58