About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter - Chapter 6 to 7:3
verses 1 and 2 of chapter six we see the building of the wall was pretty
well completed. The only thing left was to put some doors on some gates.
We need to distinguish between the gates and the doors.
There were actually doors in the large gates people could walk
the enemies of the Jews were not successful in hindering the Jews in
their project, Sanballat and Geshem the Arab wrote a letter to Nehemiah.
This letter was a request to meet together on the plain of Ono. To
me, this suggests that Sanballat was hoping that Nehemiah viewed this
meeting as a peace treaty, but Nehemiah saw through Sanballat's plan.
If the enemies of God
can't defeat you in battle, they often try to defeat you in forming some
kind of an alliance. When
the alliance is formed, the work of God ends.
You cannot align yourself with both God and the devil.
Such an attempt puts you on the devil's side.
2 says that Sanballat was scheming to harm Nehemiah and those with him.
If Nehemiah would have taken Sanballat up on his offer, and offer
that might have looked like a peace offer, it would have been their
death. The army of Sanballat
would have killed Nehemiah and his men with no trouble.
verse 3 we see that Nehemiah sent an answer to Sanballat by way of some
messengers. Nehemiah said
that he could not leave the building project to have any kind of meeting
with him. It made no sense
to Nehemiah to stop the work of God to meet with his enemies.
people of God should not try to negotiate any kind of treaty with their
enemies. God does not
negotiate. He simply speaks
the truth and everyone, including His enemies either accepts the truth
or rejects it. The problem
in today's world is that the people of God in many respects are trying
to negotiate a peace treaty with their enemies.
That doesn't work. It
may sound nice and reasonable, but it's not God's way.
Paul clearly says that we should not be unequally yoke with
non-believers (2 Cor. 6:14). I
believe this applies to both the Christian community as well as the
verse 4 we see the persistence of Sanballat .
He sent the same letter four times in a row and Nehemiah answered
the same way four times in a row. The
devil does not give up. He
will try to ware you down until you give in.
being turned down four times, we see in verse 5 that Sanballat sends
Nehemiah another letter. The
contents of this letter is found in verses 5 through 8.
Basically, Sanballat says to Nehemiah that the reason why he and
the Jews are building the wall is because he is planning on becoming
king of the Jews and will mount a revolt against the king of
verse 8 Nehemiah replies by saying that nothing of the sort is happening
believe there is something for us to learn here, and that is the wall
that was being built around
9 tells us that Nehemiah saw through Sanballat's letters.
They were an attempt to make the Jews fear them and stop the
building project. But this
did not stop the wall from being built.
in verse 9 we see the response that Nehemiah had to this last letter.
After turning down Sanballat's request for the fifth time, he
went to prayer and asked God for strength.
Prayer for Nehemiah was one of those defensive weapons so to
speak. God gave him strength
as he spoke to Him.
needed strength because the fight wasn't over.
In verse 10 we learn of a plot to kill Nehemiah so one of the
Jews living in
responded in verse 11. He
asked Shemaiah if he should run and hide. The obvious answer was no.
A man like him should not run and hide or he would not be the man
he was. People of God should
stand strong in their faith. They
don't have to hide behind anything
was acting prophetically here. What
he was saying was meant to be taken as a word from God.
But, in verse 12 we learn that Nehemiah saw through this trick of
the enemy. Sanballat had
actually hired a Jew, most likely a Jew with prophetic tendencies to
prophesy falsely to Nehemiah. The
result would have been that Nehemiah would have hidden himself exactly
where Sanballat knew, resulting in his death.
is clear that this is yet another trick of the enemy, and this trick is
very subtle. The enemy, the
devil hires one of your own to work against you.
And it is not in direct opposition to you, the this one of your
own comes to you as a man of God trying to help you.
Yet, in the long run the devil is only using him to distract you
from the work of God. Nehemiah
did not fall for this, and neither should we.
learn in verse 14 that Nehemiah viewed such a plan as a sin that would
discredit him. The temple
was not a place to hide. It
was a place to worship. If
the devil can't stop you from doing God's work, he'll try to discredit
you and by so doing, give you a bad name that would surely hinder and
stop God's work from moving forward.
all of the trouble and opposition to the building project, Nehemiah
tells us in verse 15 that the wall was completed in 52 days.
Again, this tells us that the famine that was taking place in the
land had to have begun before the building process began.
Such severe circumstances as we saw in chapter 5 concerning this
famine could not have taken place so quickly or during the building
16 is somewhat astounding. When
the wall was finished, all Israel's enemies and the nations around them
"lost their self confidence" because they then realized that
the God of Israel indeed was behind the building project and helped the
Jews restore the wall. The
successful works of God is a testimony to God Himself.
is thus important then that the works we do are really the works of God
and not the works of our own hands.
If the works we do are the work of our own hands, then the result
will represent us and not God. And
this is often the case in the church today.
What we do is often more of an expression of ourselves and not
the Lord we are to serve.
verses 17 through 19 we see a conflict in
chapter 7 verse 1 we read that once the doors were in place on the
gates, completing the restoration of the walls, Nehemiah appointed
gatekeepers. He also
appointed singers and Levites.
this point we need to distinguish between the gates and the doors. The
doors were actually part of the gates.
They weren't the gates.
appointed singers. It
appears to me that these singers would walk around the city singing
praises to their God. This
might be something like our Christian radio stations of today.
The sound of praises could be heard in the holy city and they
should be heard in God's New Testament holy city as well.
verse 2 we learn the Nehemiah appointed his brother Hanani to be in
charge of the city of Jerusalem. Most scholars say that
Hanani was not his blood brother, but a brother Jew. This same Hanani is
mentioned in chapter 1, verse 2 as one of the men who came from
learn in verse 3 that the gates could only be entered when the sun was
fully up, and once dusk came, no one could enter. Ordinary men were also
appointed as guards along the wall.
The city was fully on guard from any attack from their enemies,
as we should be today. This
reminds me of what Jesus said when He told us that the night comes when
no one can work. We need to
do God's will while His light of understanding is shining, for without
God's help, our work is in vain.