Vol.XX No.III Pg.2
May 1983

Godly Courage

Robert F. Turner

When Sanballat heard that Nehemiah and others were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 4:1-f) he set about to stop this good work — and his methods are still being used to hinder or stop scriptural work today. He mocked their feeble efforts — they are small and insignificant (v.2-3). And he conspired with other enemies, uniting the forces of evil against truth, and offering "unity" (?) as compelling reason to "return unto us" (8-12).

Internal weakness also hindered the work, and it was necessary for the faithful to "clean house," even as the same is necessary today if our work is to succeed (5:1-19).

But as internal problems were corrected, and the work grew, Sanballat tried another tactic. "Come, let us meet ...in the plains of Ono. Compromise would stop the work of course, but more — "Why should the work cease whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" (6:1-4). Genuine studies together are profitable, but often what is supposed to be a "study" is nothing but public relations propaganda that goes on interminably, and stops the work of the Lord for that time! (6:1-4). And if we do not fall for that ploy, Sanballat and his kind will slander us. "It is reported..." Nehemiah covered it when he said, "There are no such things but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. (5f)

Then Sanballat and Tobiah tried trickery. They hired men to cultivate an atmosphere of fear — trick Nehemiah into appearing to lose faith — to cringe at the enemy's approach. Bold Nehemiah would not hide. He could not be intimidated by threats to put his own safety above the need for God's work to continue (6:10-14).

"So the wall was finished..." and Nehemiah gave credit where it belonged: "this work was wrought of our God" (6:15-16). God works with those who have the faith and courage to do His bidding against all odds. Who go steadily forward, unshaken by Satan and his wiles. Who allow neither mockery, conspiracy, internal troubles, compromise, slander, or carnal tricks to move them from their course.

This offers no encouragement to those who confuse bluster, unethical tactics or character assassination with the fight of faith. If we are truly co-workers with God we do not need carnal methods to succeed. The courage of the saints is marked by meekness and poverty of spirit, true signs of trust in God and His power. We sorely need men with godly courage who can do all things in Him..."