Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God that He has power to do everything according to His perfect will. That not one of His thoughts can be frustrated. Psalm 62:11, Daniel 4:35.
- Confess the sin of not fully trusting in God’s power to fulfil His promises to you.
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 32 – What benefits in this life are shared by those who are effectively called?
Answer – In this life those who are effectively called share in justification, adoption and sanctification, and the further benefits in this life which accompany or flow from them.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Comment – The benefits stated are truly phenomenal. They speak of our being declared right with God, adopted into His family, and, by the help of the Holy Spirit, being conformed to the image of the Lord.
Memory Verses to lay into your heart and mind.
James 1:2-5, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life,”
Please ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Nehemiah 6:5-14
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Ch 6:5-9 – The Opinions of Others.
When the seeming conciliatory invitations to meet were rejected by Nehemiah, Sanballat resorted to his more normal tactics of lies and threats. It is often the case that when people wish to attack something, they use the vague and unspecific 'everyone says' because that cannot be substantiated. What Sanballat alleged was clearly false and absolutely contrary to what Nehemiah was actually doing. They accused him of rebuilding the walls as an act of rebellion against the very king that had sent him to rebuild the walls. Everything that Nehemiah had done was in response to the call of God, and in dependence upon God, and he had made great personal sacrifices to demonstrate that he was not doing what he was doing for any personal glory or advancement.
Having stated the substance of the accusations, Sanballat then threatens to bring the accusations to the attention of the king unless Nehemiah is willing to meet and discuss the situation. It is interesting to note the reaction of Nehemiah to the accusations and the threats. Although he did tell Sanballat that he was wrong and was making up the allegations, he did not seek to answer them in detail, for he knew that the only thing that would satisfy Sanballat would be to give in to him, and Nehemiah was not going to do that! Nehemiah knew that the threats were made in order to make him afraid, but he was not going to succumb, but rather seek the strength of the Lord to overcome, v. 9. Christians must never by paralysed by fear of what people say; Alan Redpath put it well, “No man can lead a work of God if he allows himself to be governed by what other people think. He is to secure help, fellowship, prayer, advice, and he is foolish not to take it; but if his ultimate decisions are based on popular opinion he is going to fail”.
Ch 6:10-14 – Resolute.
Not only did Nehemiah have to withstand the opposition of enemies, he was also subjected to deceitful counsel from those he considered friends. The relationship he had with Shemaiah appears to be one of cordiality and friendship, for Nehemiah visited him in his home, and Shemaiah seemed to have a real concern for his welfare. Here we see the subtlety of Satan; Nehemiah had rejected every open approach made to get him to stop the work, and so now an attempt is made by deceit to trick him into giving up. The suggestion of Shemaiah seems very plausible – if people were truly coming to kill Nehemiah it may have seemed sensible to hide in a place of refuge. The response of Nehemiah is a rebuke to all who would be put off from doing the work of the Lord because of the fear of man.
a. He knew that God had given him a work to do and had preserved him in the doing of it, and there was no way that he was going to run and hide in order to preserve his own life. He knew that he was immortal until his work was done.
b. He was given discernment. God revealed to him not only that Shemaiah was a false prophet in the pay of Sanballat, but also the purpose for which he had been hired. If Nehemiah had gone to the Temple, the story would have been spread about that he was a coward and only concerned to save his own skin.
c. He prayed that God would deal with those who opposed the work, not only from Tobiah and Sanballat, but also from those religious figures who should have been the ones most supportive of the work.
So, Nehemiah resisted all attempts to stop the work, “I cannot come down” (6:3), “I will not go in” (6:11). “God give us grace to be as resolute, in the task appointed us.” (James Philip).
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 27D. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God that we do not have to fear anyone because God is all powerful, and if we submit to His ways, then no matter what happens, it will be good for us.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC