Has someone deliberately tried to discredit you? Gone out of his way to tear you down? Persuaded others to believe something untrue about you?
Then you can relate to Nehemiah. He must have scratched his head when his enemies tried five times to lure him outside the city, where certain death awaited. They tried rumors, coercion and bald-faced threats, but Nehemiah wasn’t fooled. He trusted God and knew that Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem’s claims weren’t true. These enemies were spreading rumors, trying to frighten Nehemiah and his men into stopping their work on Jerusalem’s walls. Instinctively, Nehemiah turned to prayer and asked God to provide strength for finishing the task.
Next, Nehemiah had to be wary when his enemies sent a wolf in sheep’s clothing, inviting him to hide out in the temple for his own safety—an act that would have gone against God’s laws. Yet even when threatened with death, Nehemiah didn’t allow himself to fall into that trap. He had insight into the situation that reinforced his trust in God, rather than believing the bad reports of other men.
Thankfully, you’ll probably never experience an assassination attempt. But you might face an enemy who wants to assassinate your character. Like Nehemiah’s enemies, people who are bent on opposing you can be very resourceful, even downright nefarious, in getting their way. Should you fight back? Or run away and hide?
Remember that, like Nehemiah, you have a heavenly Father to whom you can always turn. As hard as Nehemiah’s enemies tried to attack him, through prayer he found the power to continue his work without fear. You can too. When you trust God for protection, he will fill you with strength to complete the unique tasks he gives you and the courage you need to withstand character assassination attempts.
To Take Away
• Think about a really tough task, project or relationship that God has given you to deal with. How does Nehemiah’s example encourage you?
• Is there someone in your circle of friends who brings you down or makes you feel afraid? How can you respond to him in a way that honors God?
• In what areas do you need to trust God to protect and strengthen you?
This devotion is from the NIV New Men's Devotional Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.