Day 31 Wednesday, Mar. 25th
10 One day when I went into the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his house, 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, tonight they are coming to kill you.” 11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Would a man like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” 12 Then I perceived and saw that God had not sent him at all, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He was hired for this purpose, to intimidate me and make me sin by acting in this way, and so they could give me a bad name, in order to taunt me. 14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.
ENEMIES IN THE CAMP
Today's text underscores the fact that everyone with us is not necessarily for us. Or, for that matter, everyone one on whose behalf we are working may not be working on ours. There were certain prophets in Jerusalem's community who came against Nehemiah and had aligned themselves with Tobiah and Sanballat in an attempt to discredit, intimidate, and cause Nehemiah to sin. Nehemiah discerns what is in the heart of the prophet Shemaiah through what he says, recognizing that if Shemaiah was speaking on behalf of God, then his words would be aligned with God's will and way. There was something in what this prophet said that did not ring true. If in no other way, Tobiah and Sanballat had managed to worm their way into Jerusalem through enemies in the camp.
As we move forward in rebuilding our lives in the areas of family, fellowship, faith, finances, physical health, or whatever our Lenten focus may be, we must be aware of enemies in our camp operating from within. These enemies can be embodied in our thoughts, old habits, or our lack of discipline to continue in the new practices that have helped us to experience restoration thus far. Realize that our greatest enemies sometimes operate from within us. To combat them, we need to practice opening ourselves to the voice of God. Continue studying and receiving God’s word. Then, test what we hear in light of what God has already revealed. Is what we're hearing now in agreement with what God has already shared? If not, this is cause to pause and pray.
- What steps will you take to combat enemies within and around you that seek to hinder your progress?
LET US PRAY
Lord God, you are gracious. Help me not to take for granted the work you have done in me. Make me to realize those things within and around me that war against your plans for my life.