Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. 2 I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
Nehemiah 5:9–12 (ESV)
So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10 Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. 11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” 12 Then they said, “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests and made them swear to do as they had promised.
Nehemiah 5:15 (ESV)
The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.
State of piety and respect toward a superior (Ex 20:20; Pr 1:7); 2. fear, terror, i.e., a state of great anxiety and alarm (Dt 2:25; Ps 55:6[EB 5]; John 1:10, 16); 3.worship, i.e., the act. or speech of showing profound reverence toward a superior, which may include ritual action (Ps 5:8[EB 7]; Job 4:6; 15:4; 22:4); 4. awesomeness, i.e., that which causes wonder and astonishment (Eze 1:18)
Swanson, J. (1997).
Define: AWE in light of the power and glory of GOD that provokes worship and reverent obedience!
Nehemiah 6:1–4 (ESV)
Conspiracy Against Nehemiah
Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. 3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.
Nehemiah 6:8 (HCSB)
Then I replied to him, “There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind.”
Nehemiah 6:11 (HCSB)
But I said, “Should a man like me run away? How can I enter the temple and live? I will not go.”
Mark 4:35–38 (ESV)
Jesus Calms a Storm
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Fear is the absence of trust in or awe of God and always leads to instability
Mark 4:39–41 (ESV)
39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
1. Focus on the mission (mighty work) of God in and through you!
Nehemiah 6:3–4 (ESV)
And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.
2. Focus on what is real!
Matthew 5:10–12 (ESV)
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
3. Focus on moving forward!
Nehemiah 6:15–16 (ESV)
So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.