Today, I’m writing about indirect opposition—opposition from an enemy who desires to keep his or her motives secret. Indeed, Nehemiah finds himself facing indirect opposition from his enemies. And it all begins when these enemies learn of the wall’s completion.
“Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained—though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates” (Nehemiah 6:1 NLT).
As you’ll see, just because the work is finished, doesn’t mean the opposition will stop.
There are three ways Nehemiah’s enemies indirectly oppose him.
First, by deception.
Nehemiah describes a letter sent by Sanballat and Geshem. They want Nehemiah to meet them in Ono. In fact, these enemies send the letter four times. But Nehemiah recognizes that these men want to harm him (V. 2-4).
Nehemiah’s enemies hope to trick him into visiting Ono. Why? Because they hate his guts. If Nehemiah would’ve gone, he may not have returned!
But see, Sanballat and Geshem don’t tell Nehemiah that they plan to harm him! It’s an indirect opposition.
In our own lives, we must beware of deception. For example, let’s say you work really hard on a report for your job. Before turning it in, Freddy offers to read over it. But when you hand it to him, he rips it into shreds and laughs in your face.
Oh, I know. It’s a weak example. Let’s refer to the Bible.
Jesus says to the Jews, “‘Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves’” (Matthew 7:15 NLT).
In other words, be careful who you listen to. Some people don’t have your best interests at heart.
Next, Nehemiah is opposed by accusation.
Sanballat has a guy bring Nehemiah a letter. In this letter, the Jews are accused for building the wall in order to rebel from the king. In fact, Sanballat claims that Nehemiah has the intention of becoming the Jew’s king. Sanballat wants Nehemiah to come and discuss it with him. But Nehemiah refuses to listen, for he knows his heart behind the wall (V. 5-9).
The next form of indirect opposition Nehemiah faces is accusation. He is blamed for selfishness. And let me tell you, our enemy—Satan—loves to accuse you of selfishness. Even when you know you’re not selfish.
Consider these lies:
“You just want to look good.”
“You’re in it for yourself.”
“You’re doing it for recognition.”
“All you care about is the money.”
The Bible says, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren [Satan] is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10 KJV).
Satan is the accuser, the father of lies (John 8:44). Don’t listen to his accusations when you know they aren’t true. After all, yielding to false accusation prohibits your progress.
Finally, Nehemiah is indirectly opposed by delegation.
Nehemiah visits Shemaiah. Turns out, Shemaiah tries to get Nehemiah to meet him at the temple. After all, Nehemiah’s enemies will kill him tonight. But Nehemiah recognizes this false prophecy. Sanballat and Tobiah had hired Shemaiah to trick Nehemiah into danger (V. 10-13).
Sometimes, your enemy “hires” someone else to oppose your work. It’s a negative form of delegation. But it happens. Often times, Satan works through another person to oppose you.
God’s Word says, “You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God” (Ephesians 2:2 NLT).
I’ve heard it said, “I’m not the enemy.” And it’s true. When a person opposes you, it’s really Satan delegating his own evil.
I find it interesting that Nehemiah doesn’t become a victim to deception, accusation, or delegation. He stands strong through it all. Why? Because he has Godly wisdom.
I don’t know about you, but I pray God gives me the wisdom to avoid indirect opposition.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (James 1:5 NLT).