"Just Go In the Temple and Hide"
Nehemiah was in the process of rebuilding the walls of the temple (Nehemiah 6); in fact, he had it all done except for the doors being put on the gates. The enemies of Israel were not happy. They were actually plotting ways to delay or possibly attack Nehemiah and stop the work. They tried "friendly" meetings (6:1-4) and slander against Nehemiah (6:5-9). But I think the third way they tried to stop the work being done was the most interesting.
A secret informer was sent to Nehemiah in chapter 6:10-14; "Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, 'Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.'" The informer tried to persuade Nehemiah to go into the temple and hide because there were those trying to take his life. Can you imagine how tempting this would have been for Nehemiah? However, Nehemiah knew that only priests were allowed in the temple, and this would have violated God's word. In 2 Chronicles 26, King Uzziah - who was not a priest - went into the temple, and God instantly struck him with leprosy.
I believe there are two very good lessons in this story to be learned when we consider God's word today.
1. We can never compromise God's word because of fear.
Shemaiah tried to create fear in Nehemiah and tried to get him to disobey God based on this fear. Religion that compromises avoid persecution, which is exactly what Jesus said we would endure if we are faithful (Matthew 5:10). Being a true follower of God means we must decide whom we belong to in our heart and be ready to give an answer of the hope within us with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15).
We cannot compromise. “He seeks to persuade Nehemiah into an easy-going, compromising religion that will shirk persecution, that will carry no cross, and that is governed by fear of the opinions of other people (Redpath).”
Do we compromise or carry our cross? Jesus was also offered a way out of the cross from the devil - just worship him, and all the kingdoms of the world would be delivered to Him. Jesus would have none of it. Never compromise!!!
2. Religious talk can be deceptive. If Nehemiah believed Shemaiah’s religious talk, he would sin and give others something to find fault with and discredit him with. It was wrong to go in the temple… period. I hear things today like "that's your interpretation", or "that's the wrong hermeneutic", but the truth is, if God said it, then it came from Him; thus we must follow it (1 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Tim 3:16-17). We can call it whatever we want, but only God's word has the power of salvation (Rom 1:16). I also hear things like "God's grace will cover that" in reference to a sin. God's word teaches us that grace will not continue if we continue to sin (Romans 6:1). The fact is sin is transgression, and by the blood of Jesus we will be forgiven if as Christians we repent and make confession (1 Jn 1:9-10). We must be careful that we do not follow false religion or religious talk, (Matthew 7) and that we follow the teachers of God's word. According to Jesus’ own words, our love for Him is defined by our willingness to obey His teaching (John 14:15-23). And His teaching did not end with His death on the cross. After His death, the Spirit would return (John 14:15-23) and continue to reveal and teach God’s Truth through the apostles (John 16:12-14, 17:6-17).
Let us always see the importance of teaching only what Jesus Himself taught, whether in Person, or in the Spirit through His hand-picked apostles. (2nd Peter 1:3-12, Jude 3).