Summary: Godly character and how you live your life is always your greatest defense against the enemy. Nehemiah appoints people who are faithful to God and trustworthy to follow God's commands to help him secure this treasured city.
Securing the City
Nehemiah 6:15 – 7:5
- Nehemiah is a great study of leadership; shows faithful obedience to God
- This morning, we continue our examination of this incredible story
-- Nehemiah’s leadership has helped them complete the wall’s construction
-- But just as we’ve seen before, building a wall is not the only thing needed
- Read Nehemiah 6:15 – 7:5
∆ Point 1 – The wall is completed
- So, we’ve reached the point in our story where the wall is finally finished
-- From beginning to end, it has taken 52 days to rebuild the wall (v15)
- I’ve often wondered why the residents did not do this themselves before …
-- Perhaps the work was too hard, or the motivation was just non-existent
-- Or maybe, it is because it was simply not time for the wall to be built
-- RE: Nehemiah was on a mission, ordained by God for this project
- APP: God’s protection and provision are really the star of the show here
-- We saw Nehemiah praying earnestly for God to allow this to happen
-- We saw God’s anointing on Nehemiah; even the king provided resources
-- And we’ve even seen how even their enemies have been turned back
- But, just as with all things successful in this world, the resistance mounts
-- It’s almost as if the enemy will just continue to look for weaknesses …
- So, just because this wall is complete it doesn’t mean the battle is over (v16)
-- The stir caused by their enemies continues to rise; we can’t blame them
- Consider their internal questions they may have had:
• How could they do this so fast?
• What’s next on their agenda? Are they preparing for war?
• Are they coming for me and my family/city now that they’ve built?
- More importantly, note why they are so dismayed now: (v16b)
-- “… they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God”
- APP: If God could grant them favor to do this, what else could He do for them?
-- EX: Would they now be able to take over our region as well?
- Surely, the neighboring townspeople would be in an uproar about this
-- And if there is one thing we can count on: paranoia can def. excite a crowd
- TRANS: But, something interesting happens also with Jerusalem’s residents
-- It appears they are also not really happy and want try to cause issues
-- So, in all of their minds, what act could they do to turn against Nehemiah?
∆ Point 2 – A Letter Writing Campaign!
- Finishing the wall certainly does not mean that all the issues are settled
-- Nehemiah now has to return to politics of the day (as Jerusalem’s governor)
-- I’m certain for weeks/months, Tobiah was being inundated with letters
- RE (from Chapter 2):
-- Tobiah served also in Samaria under Sanballat (a Samaritan)
-- He was probably a close advisor of Sanballat; special counselor type of position
- Note: These nobles are from the land of Judah … these are Jews! (v17)
-- Despite Nehemiah’s leadership, the people still had an alliance with Tobiah
-- It’s not clear why they had such loyalty, but they felt they must maintain it
- Tobiah also had strong family ties as well to prominent Jewish figures (v18)
1) He was married to the daughter of Shekaniah, son of Arah
2) His son was married to daughter of Meshullam, son of Berekiah
-- APP: Tobiah was not an outsider like Sanballat; he had close family ties
- What we can see is the people (v19) had some conflicts of interest in loyalty
-- They would report to Nehemiah Tobiah’s “good deeds” and wait for reaction
-- EX: “Tobiah did such and such”; Nehemiah would reply; they would report
-- So, what if Nehemiah’s response was not “favorable”? They’d be tattle-tales!
- This meant they were constantly setting up Nehemiah to see his reaction
-- RE: The Pharisees did the same thing to Jesus on frequent occasions!
-- They would often test Jesus to see His response in light of their “rituals”
- IMP: The residents of Jerusalem, who Nehemiah helped, just couldn’t let go
- So, instead of being loyal, they funneled info back to Tobiah like spies
-- It is unsure why they did this, but there is a theory here to present:
• Perhaps they enjoyed a more relaxed environment under Tobiah?
• Perhaps Nehemiah held them accountable and was stricter in policies?
• Perhaps the people felt they could play both sides of the fence?
- APP: Either way, their loyalties were divided – but Nehemiah didn’t change
-- Matter of fact, even though Tobiah wrote him letters nothing changed