Scripture: Nehemiah 6:10-13
When I entered the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined at home, 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, and they are coming to kill you at night." But I said, "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." Then I perceived that surely God had not sent him, but he uttered his prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me.
Insights: Today’s verses take us to the very bottom of the valley. Shemaiah pretended to be a spiritual advisor to Nehemiah and in modern day language said, “Let’s run down to the church building and have a prayer meeting because those fellows are planning on killing you. You need a place to lay low for a while.” Notice again in these verses we are told that the intention behind this spiritual deception was to frighten Nehemiah into hiding which would have resulted in sin. If Nehemiah had run, it would have caused that rumor and gossip mill to start working overtime and the work would have stopped. Nehemiah perceived that Shemaiah was not sent from God. Earlier in this week we learned that Nehemiah used discernment to recognize the foul plot against him. That word perceived communicates the very same idea. As we learned then, the way we grow in discernment is by spending time with God in prayer and in His Word. At that point we are able to recognize when something is of God and when something is of this world. I want to make one last point regarding Shemaiah. In the New Testament Jesus told the parable of the wheat and the tares. Tares are those who attend church and act like they know the Lord Jesus, but in reality are as lost as the day is long. Shemaiah was such a man. He sounded spiritual. He acted spiritual. In the end, however, all he wanted was to line his pocket book with the profit found in deceiving Nehemiah. We need to pray for God to give us the ability to forgive such people and love them in Jesus.
- Have you learned that the church has both wheat and tares in it?
- Are you, however, willing to let God work in you in order to forgive the tares that have harmed you?
Prayer: Father, Satan is crafty and evil. Grant me discernment in order to know his tricks and give me the courage to run quickly to You when I encounter him. Give me a forgiving heart. Amen.