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On being a modern-day Nehemiah

From the September 1981 issue of The Christian Science Journal

"I will not go in" was Nehemiah 's uncompromising reply to his enemies' suggestion that he seek safety in the temple from an attack on his life.See Neh. 6:10-12.

In a final attempt to keep the walls of Jerusalem from being rebuilt, Shemaiah, one of the priests who was apparently cooperating with Nehemiah's enemies Tobiah and Sanballat, intimated that there was a plot on the wall builder's life. He suggested that Nehemiah go into the temple with him for safety. On the surface this seemed a reasonable proposal, because an Israelite could seek asylum in the temple area. But a layman like Nehemiah was forbidden to enter the inner sanctuary, the only place of sure safety.

Nehemiah perceived the treachery of Shemaiah to be just one more effort to hinder his work on the wall. His pure desire to be obedient to God also helped him discern that the promised refuge offered by Shemaiah was not foolproof. This saved him from further abuse, the possibility of being accused of cowardice and sacrilege.