Flattery will get you! – Could you be drawn away from God’s best in your life by flattery or some other temptation? What can we learn from Nehemiah about protecting our testimonies, our jobs, and our ministries?
Nehemiah 6 & 7
Flattery Will Get You!
Nehemiah 6 & 7:
Flattery & Enticing Distractions
Chapter 6 reminds me of what goes on in politics and the media today. Nehemiah and the people were making great progress at rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Notice what happened next:
¹ Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm.
3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (6.1-3).
As soon as someone starts to do something significant for God, influential people want to meet with him or her and, often, interview them for TV or some other media. Sadly, many have learned the hard way that most people in the media don’t want to rejoice with them because they’re doing something worthwhile. In fact, most have learned that what they say and do gets twisted and misreported. And all it does is serve as a distraction from what’s really important.
Fear is another of the enemies weapons: fear of losing a position of prominence, fear of what people will think, or fear for their own safety or well-being.
10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.”
11 And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” 12 Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
When we know that we are doing what God has called us to do, we can trust Him to take care of us.
14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.
But sadly, flattery, the enticement of national coverage, and the excitement of rubbing elbows with dignitaries can tempt us to compromise. Fear sometimes stops us in our tracks. But when it doesn’t work, the enemy will often attack from within—sometimes using people close to that person. How many times have we read the phrase “unnamed sources say …” to spread some untruth.
Another way the enemy attempts to bring down servants of God is by taking advantage of our own sinful desires, often through an immoral sexual encounter.
Those encounters don’t always start with something obviously sexual or immoral. Often they happen between two co-workers or even people who work together in ministry.
It may seem innocent, at first, things like texting and compliments, but will often turn to flirting and spending more and more time together. Continue reading