The sin of fear

The sin of fear

“Therefore was he (Tobiah) hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me” — Nehemiah 6:13

Here is Nehemiah, the man who earlier in the narrative (Nehemiah 2:2b) confessed to being dreadfully afraid, standing firm in the face of those who sought to make him afraid. He had been commissioned by God to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem and been granted the king’s favour. In simple terms, the enemy did not like that and opposition arose that sought to disrupt proceedings and discredit Nehemiah. However, it seems that Nehemiah had learned from his encounter with the king that the Lord was with him and had not only sanctioned but instituted proceedings. In other words, the Lord wanted the wall built!
Indeed, how often do false reports shake the foundation of our hearts? How often do the lies of the enemy cause our hearts to tremble? And how often are our responses and actions influenced by fear and trembling? This time, Nehemiah did not have to overcome the human flesh of influence; he told them to get lost! This time, Nehemiah did not have to recognise the hand of the Lord at work; he knew what God had placed on his heart to do and the working that God had already done. Now, he instantaneously recognised the work of the devil in seeking to disrupt what God was doing and the fulfilment of God’s purpose, and no matter how he felt, Nehemiah was going to have none of it! God was with Nehemiah; He had put into place His plan, purpose and working. In this Nehemiah placed his trust and confidence: in his all-encompassing God and Lord. He could recognise that which was now not from God, for it did not conform to what God was doing.
There is one greatly central point: “that I should be afraid and sin”. Why is this? For if Nehemiah had succumbed to the fear tactics of the enemy (which were even from amongst his brethren), he would have been indirectly making the statement to God that He was not in control; that He was not powerful enough to handle the situation; that He was not truthful; that He did not know or understand all that was happening; that He was intent on Nehemiah’s harm; that He was not all-sufficient in carrying out His purposes. What a libellous statement to declare before the face of Him who is our All-in-All! Nehemiah dared not. Furthermore, another imperative point that tightly clasps the central point’s hand is this: “that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.” Our integrity and testimony rests in the hands of our God, because we place ourselves there, and God desires that we do. Oft times, the looking down at the choppy waters of false reports and lies and being caught in the net of fear and doubt only causes us to sink. It becomes the choice morsel of evil report and reproach in the enemies’ hands to stumble and hinder God’s work in our lives and His work through our lives. God forbid!
Dear faithful servant of the Living God, keep to the purpose God has set for you. If you hear His voice saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it”, then walk ye in it! Do not fear; do not doubt; do not despair; do not hesitate; do not look down at the choppy waters but up into the face of your All-in-All – and do so at all times. Even those within the camp, be it brethren or family, may be on the side of the enemy. They may not be pleased to see the work that God is doing in you and through you, and in their hearts they may desire your fumbling and failure. Yet, hath God said? Hath God commissioned? Hath God provided? Hath God not gone with you? Hath the LORD not granted you His favour? Then who do you care about, and who do you listen to? Let this be your refrain: “Speak Lord and I will listen; speak Lord and I will obey; speak Lord and I will follow You today!” When the enemy seeks to inflict fear, and divert and distract, know the words of your LORD – “Yea, before the day was I am He; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let (reverse) it?” When the enemy taunts and afflicting words are rife, know the words of the Psalmist, “Help me, O LORD my God! Oh, save me according to Your mercy, that they may know that this is Your hand – that You, LORD, have done it! Let them curse, but You bless; when they arise, let them be ashamed, but let Your servant rejoice.” When the wall had been built, the enemies were very disheartened, for they perceived that the work had been done by God (Nehemiah 6:15,16). Dear saint, called of God for His purposes, keep going, keep doing, keep building up the broken wall and keep praising your Lord as you continually look to Him in faith.


Judson McCawl

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