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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Keep ourselves pure and holy

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. So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: "I am engaged in a great work, so I can't come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?" (Nehemiah 6:1-3 NLT)

Nehemiah was working with Israelites to build a physical wall around the city of Jerusalem.  We work together with God’s Church to build our cities back up into people who are walking together with God.  While we are doing this word, we can never forget the bigger picture.  We can never forget the real goal.

and this is what it said: "There is a rumor among the surrounding nations, and Geshem tells me it is true, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why you are building the wall. According to his reports, you plan to be their king. He also reports that you have appointed prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim about you, 'Look! There is a king in Judah!' "You can be very sure that this report will get back to the king, so I suggest that you come and talk it over with me."
(Nehemiah 6:6-7 NLT)

There will be people, like Sanballat, who are not walking together with God.  They have been deceived and taken captive by the enemy to do the enemy’s will.  While that person is not our enemy, that person can still do damage to God’s work through us.  That’s why we need to make sure we stay close to God.

Later I went to visit Shemaiah son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home. He said, "Let us meet together inside the Temple of God and bolt the doors shut. Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight." (Nehemiah 6:10 NLT)

There will be false prophets, like Shemaiah, who will use God’s Name and God’s Word to try to convince us to do things that are simply not of God.  God promises to help us recognize them by their “fruit.”  Their lack of love for God and one another will become apparent.  They will try to influence us to do things that we know are not walking together with God.

I realized that God had not spoken to him, but that he had uttered this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me. (Nehemiah 6:12-13 NLT)

When we walk together with God, we can help others do the same.  When we stray from God’s path, we help others stray as well.  We cannot build a city who walks together with God unless we start with ourselves.  We need to keep ourselves pure and holy.

How about you?  Do you walk together with God?  Have you encountered people who try to knock you off the path by lying about you?  Have you encountered people who try to knock you off the path by lying to you, even in the name of God?  How do you respond?  Do you keep yourself pure and holy?