Sanballat sent me this same message a fifth time by his aid, who had an open letter in his hand. In it was written: It is reported among the nations – and Geshem agrees – that you and the Jews plan to rebel. This is the reason you are building the wall. According to these reports, you are to become their king and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf: “There is a king in Judah.” These rumors will be heard by the king. So come, let’s confer together. Nehemiah 6:5-7 HCSB
There are some people who find joy in gossiping, telling secrets, and spreading rumors in an attempt to discredit someone or to gain acceptance from others. It seems that just about every public figure is a target for gossip and rumors. Some rumors may be true, but often the comments are untrue and do not give an accurate picture of what is happening. There is a well-known pastor who has had something he said taken out of context and used against him. Too many times a public figure is discredited by what others are saying. Those who find fault in the person are frequently jealous of the other person’s position, power, or abilities.
Sanballat tried to discredit Nehemiah and turn the people against him by saying that he was going to set himself up as king. He also threatened to share with the king that Nehemiah was going to lead the Jewish people to revolt. Note that the message was an open letter and not sealed, which was customary. The message could easily be read by others. Sanballat did this in an attempt to spread rumors about Nehemiah.
Challenge: Have you been a gossip or spread rumors about someone? Ask forgiveness from that person. Pray that God would help you to always tell the truth and not share information that should be kept private.