I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was restricted to his house. He said: Let us meet at the house of God inside the temple. Let us shut the temple doors because they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you tonight! But I said, “Should a man like me run away? How can I enter the temple and live? I will not go.” I realized that God had not sent him, because of the prophecy he spoke against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me. Nehemiah 6:10-13 HCSB
We all have the natural instinct to protect ourselves and run from danger. If we feel threatened in some way we will usually respond in one of two ways. Either we will stand and fight or turn and run. As a child in middle school I was picked on and even had lunch money stolen from me. Because those who were bullying me were larger in stature, I would usually try to avoid them to protect myself and my lunch money.
Nehemiah could not trust the support of some of the people. Shemaiah appeared to be Nehemiah’s friend and pretended to be trying to protect him from his enemies, but the reality was that Shemaiah had been hired by Tobiah and Sanballat to intimidate Nehemiah. Shemaiah tried to get Nehemiah to go to the temple and hide in an effort to protect him from his enemies. It would have been wrong for Nehemiah to go into the temple because he was not a priest. If he had given into the fear and gone into the temple, he would have been discredited as a leader. He would have also undermined the courage that he was trying to instill in the people.
Challenge: Be wise and determine if someone is really trying to help you or if they are only trying to persuade you to do something you should not do. Satan is alive and well and will sometimes even use friends and relatives to tempt you in some way. When you yield to the temptation, you disappoint God and minimize your personal testimony.