"They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could break our resolve and stop the work. So I prayed for strength to continue the work.”
-Nehemiah 6:9 (NLT)
The intimidation tactics employed by the University of Cincinnati men's basketball team backfired on them against Illinois in the 2nd round of the 2004 NCAA tournament. During warm-ups, Bearcat players warned the Illini to get ready for a bus ride home after the game. Instead of intimidating Illinois, the Cincinnati trash-talking sparked the Fighting Illini onto a 92-68 thrashing. Following the game, it was the Bearcats who were boarding the bus for their trip home.
Nehemiah was faced with some men who used intimidation tactics to try and keep him from finishing his work of rebuilding the Jerusalem wall. First, his enemies tried to distract him away from Jerusalem, intending to harm him. Second, they tried to scare him into meeting with them by making false accusations. Finally, they hired someone on the "inside" to try to coerce Nehemiah to hide in the sanctuary of the temple of God (which would have been a sin) by saying, "Your enemies are coming to kill you tonight."
In each one of these attempts to intimidate him, Nehemiah saw through their lies and deception and stood firmly in the Lord despite the threats against him. Because he refused to succumb to the intimidation of his enemies, Nehemiah led the people to complete the wall in just fifty-two days — with God's help, of course.
I encourage you to stand firmly on the truth of God's Word and not allow anyone to shake your faith in Him through intimidation tactics.
1. How have you faced intimidation tactics in athletics?
2. When have others tried to intimidate you because of your faith in God?
3. What can you learn from Nehemiah about facing intimidation from others?
2 Chronicles 32:7-8