Trouble and Triumph, Nehemiah 6: Part I

In the previous five chapters, we see that Nehemiah confronts the enormous task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Not only was he tasked with motivating a group of victimized people who were living without the protection of city walls, but he was also challenged by the trio of Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem (referred to as the unholy trinity) and had to deal with the internal strife of Jews behaving badly with their own people.

However, the third attack upon Nehemiah may be the saddest of them all. Nehemiah 6:10-14 describes how the unholy trinity bribed Shemaiah into using the word of God (in prophecy) to scare him into hiding and to defame and to taunt the man of God. Yes, a “prophet” of God, a person whose job it was to hear from the Lord, was bribed in order to work against the purposes of God (just like Judas).

As Christians, we must be careful about lending an ear to anyone who says that they heard from God. Even the people who look, sound, and talk spiritual are not always representing God but rather their own agenda. Consider the following:

  1. Do this person’s actions reflect a real relationship with Christ? (Matthew 7:15-20; Jeremiah 23). A person who hears from God will live a life that honors Christ. They will stray away from contention and gossip. They will respect their spouses. They will sacrifice of themselves in order to advance the cause of Jesus.
  2. Are their words in line with what the Bible says? (Galatians 1:8; Matthew 24:4-5). God will never instruct you to murder someone, gossip, lie, cheat, or get a divorce. He will never give you a spoken word which does not coincide with the Bible! If someone tells you that God says something to the contrary, do not listen!
  3. What is the Holy Spirit telling you? (1 John 4:1; Nehemiah 6:12). God will bring conviction or confirmation to your life when he speaks to you (even though we might not like it at the time). However, if we confirm the word of God to be true—through Bible reading and prayer—we can then trust it to be from God and for our own good.


Remember, God’s plan for your life is always for you to become a better Christian. He will instruct you to greater integrity, holiness, and humility. If you are not being led in that direction, perhaps it isn’t God that is directing your paths…