Bible Study for Christian Women and Pastors Wives: I Am Able to Say No, Part 3
Nehemiah was a Jewish cup bearer for the king of Persia. Basically, that meant he was "the canary in the coal mine." His responsibility was to sample the wine before the king drank it and make sure it was not poisoned. If Nehemiah didn't get sick or die, then it was okay for the king to drink it.
One day, Nehemiah heard that the walls of Jerusalem, where his family was from, were burnt down and it broke his heart. The king quizzed him and Nehemiah explained. Not only did the king grant a leave of absence to Nehemiah, but he also gave him paid-in-full purchase orders for necessary supplies.
When Nehemiah got back to Jerusalem, he made a secret survey of the situation and then set up multiple teams of workers to accomplish the massive undertaking of rebuilding the walls.
However, there were some enemies, "Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies," who did not want the wall rebuilt. After all, it's a little harder to raid a fortified, walled city than it is a place full of fear with breached walls and no gates.
In Numbers 6, we find these enemies sending a message to Nehemiah to come down and meet with them on the plains of Ono.
Nehemiah's RSVP is in verse 3: "And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?"
Geographically speaking, when you leave Jerusalem from any direction, you have to literally "come down" because it is built on a hill.
The enemies were rather persistent in their invitation and repeated it four times. The RSVP was the same each time. So, they stepped up their game and sent an open letter (I guess anyone could read it along the way) full of lies. They wanted to stop Nehemiah from leading so the wall would not be rebuilt and were using fear tactics.
Nehemiah addresses his own fear and took it to The Lord and asked for specific help - a real good thing for us to do when the enemy strikes terror in our hearts.
Then, the enemies tried a little different method. They hired someone who knew Nehemiah to get him to hide in the temple with doors shut for safety's sake. Because Nehemiah was listening to God, he said "No" again. Had he hid out in the temple he would have been a sitting duck for the enemies to kill him. Also, just him going to hide in the temple would have totally stopped the work God assigned him to lead ~ which was to rebuild the walls.
Nehemiah, way to go ~ because you know it's okay to say no when it's not God saying yes!
Be blessed in The Name above every name, Jesus! I know I am!
Linda L. Culbreth