Leader Beware - Nehemiah 6:1-4

Once the enemy gets a foothold in a ministry, he starts to weaken the work from within; and ultimately, the work will fail

That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Nehemiah 6:2-3 (KJV)

Up to this point in the building program, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem (Gashmu, v. 6) opposed everything that the Jews did; but now they offered to cooperate and help the Jews build the wall.

They offered to meet Nehemiah in a village halfway between Jerusalem and Samaria, a quiet place where they could make plans on how to work together. "We're willing to meet you halfway," was their approach. "Now, don't be an unfriendly neighbor!" Of course, the enemy's strategy was, "If you can't whip 'em, join 'em—and then take over!"

Once the enemy gets a foothold in a ministry, he starts to weaken the work from within; and ultimately, the work will fail. While cooperation in the Lord's work is a noble thing, leaders must take care that they cooperate with the right people at the right time for the right purpose; otherwise they may end up cooperating with the enemy.

Satan is a master deceiver and has his servants ready to join hands with God's people so he can weaken their hands in the work (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

Loving compromise and cooperation can be good and useful things if there are no moral or spiritual issues involved. Happy compromise can invigorate a marriage or strengthen a ministry (Phil. 2:1-4), but this is compromise among people who love each other and have the same purposes in mind. When you invite the devil to join your team, expect him to change the rules and the goals; and expect to be defeated.

Nehemiah rejected their offer because of three convictions.

  1. First, he knew that they were lying and wanted to kill him (Neh. 6:2). Nehemiah had the kind of spiritual discernment that leaders must possess if they are going to detect the enemy's strategy and defeat it.
  2. Second, he was convinced of the greatness of the work God had given him to do (v. 3). If Nehemiah allowed himself to be distracted and detoured from the work God had called him to do, where would his people go for leadership? A leaderless project is an aimless project and eventually falls apart.
  3. Behind these two convictions was a third conviction: The Jews had nothing in common with Sanballat and his crowd, so there could be no basis for cooperation. Nehemiah had made that clear at the very outset of the project when he said to Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, "But as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it" (Neh. 2:20, niv). God's people are different from the people of the world and must maintain their separated position (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). If Nehemiah had cooperated with Sanballat and his allies, how could he have led the nation to separate itself from the foreigners in the land? (Neh. 9:2; 10:28; 13:3) He would have been inconsistent. - Bible Exposition Commentary

Leaders must be good examples and stay on the job.

_ Bible Exposition Commentary
Paul Fakunle

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