Nehemiah 6:5-9 NKJV Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. (6) In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. (7) And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, “There is a king in Judah!” Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together. (8) Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.” (9) For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
Have you ever had people make up rumors about you? Maybe you joined a committee for the PTA at your child’s school or joined your local Homeowners Association only to have people get angry and accuse you of having a hidden agenda? If so, you are not alone. Nehemiah found himself in the same predicament while faithfully serving God.
Regularly I have people come to me or call in a tizzy because they found out that someone had been telling people something about them. My usual initial response is to first ask them if what they’re saying is true. If it’s not… (I’ve only had one person ever tell me that someone was spreading the truth about them, but that’s another story) I follow up by asking why they are so upset. Invariably, they say they afraid that people will believe the story and think bad of them.
Not to skimp on the advice and counsel that generally follows but to stay more specific to the topic I want to note; by the time they talk to me they have spent hours stewing over and fretting about what they heard that someone has said about them. Some of them haven’t been able to study for exams, write papers, accomplish anything at work, and have missed out on what would have been wonderful family dinners, movies, and/outings, all because they couldn’t get what they ‘heard’ someone said about them that isn’t true out of their minds. Their ‘work’ and enjoyment in life was hindered. This was Sanballat’s plan to hinder Nehemiah and the work in Jerusalem. Sanballat wanted Nehemiah and the people to become consumed with fear about the accusations so that they would not be effective in the project at hand.
Nehemiah wasn’t concerned about the accusations because he knew they were not true. There was no reality to them and he was not going to let them have any power over him or to impact the important job at hand by letting them consume his thoughts. Instead, he prayed and asked God to strengthen him and those working. Nehemiah knew who he was and what was right. He stayed focused on those things and was willing to let his actions and his character represent him and God to defend him.
Don’t let the fear of what others might be saying about you steal your joy, your peace, and keep you from doing what is before you to do. People will talk. Stay focused on what God has said about you. Pray to the Lord to strengthen your resolve to stay steady and continue to do what is right. Let your actions, your character and the Lord represent you and defend you. Do what is right and stay steady. Don’t fear accusations they’ll only keep you from getting anything done. Fear Not!