Discerning Spirit

15 January 2021

We all have quandaries in life; wondering what do I say yes to? What do I pursue? Which direction do I take? How do I know if this is from God or not? Wouldn’t it be nice to always just know?

Nehemiah was confronted with a tough decision. Throughout his work leading the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall, there were distractions and detractors from outside the city. Those reach their pinnacle in chapter six and he was feeling the weight of lies and smears to his character leading him to pray and write:

“Now strengthen my hands.”

One day I went to the house of Shemaiah…He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”

But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me. —Nehemiah 6:9-13

Nehemiah knew what to do because he knew that listening to Shemaiah would be compromising his position. He calls it a sin. Just as he finished praying for strength in his hands to complete the work, he gets tempted to hide for his life, shut up in the temple away from the work. For him it was obvious this was not from the Lord and that leads to principle number one for discerning if something is from the Lord: Does this go against my calling or the principles in God’s Word? If the answer is yes, don’t do it.

But oftentimes in life, we have the choice between two things that look like they could be from God, and we long for God to speak to us and clarify which choice to make. Many times clairity never comes. In those moments, be blessed by the freedom expressed by the prophet Isaiah when he was calling the people to repent and turn back to God. He proclaims that once they’ve repented and are seeking God then, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21.

If it is your desire to worship, please, and serve God, then take either path and while you walk that path, God will guide your steps along the way.

Pastor John Riley
Junior High Pastor