Honing Discernment

“When [they] heard that I had built the wall..,Sanballat and Geshem [said], ‘Come… meet together in the plain of Ono.’ But they intended to do me harm. I sent to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work stop..?’ And they sent to me four times in this way… Sanballat sent [a] letter.., ‘It is reported that you… intend to rebel’… I [said], ‘No such things as you say have been done.’ For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will drop from the work…’

“Shemaiah… said,.. ‘They are coming to kill you..’ 11 But I said, ‘Should I run away?..’ I understood and saw that God had not sent him… He was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.'” Nehemiah 6:1-5,8-13

“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’  And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given… except the sign of Jonah.” Matthew 16:2-4

Nehemiah’s story begins with a transparent heart and earnest prayer. His call from God is clear- to rebuild Judah- and as God answers prayer by prayer, and step by step, he continues the work. His focus on God, and on his task, keep him intent and able to discern evil motives and distractions. With every pelt of temptation, he stays the course. (Nehemiah 1:1-2:5)

Jesus, who Himself had resisted temptation by trusting God’s word, condemned the Pharisees for wanting fantastic ‘signs,’ what we might call today ‘extra words’ from God. They neglected to discern the ‘sign of Jonah’ they already had. Today, we hide in our hearts the completed word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to guard against wrong thinking, wayward affections, and rebel actions. (Psalm 119:11; Matthew 4:1-11)

He also chastised Peter for refusing to accept His suffering and death. Today we can refuse hard truths because we do not want them to be true. Jesus redirects our minds from the things of man to God, saying, “Listen to My Son.” (Matthew 16:21-23; 17:5; Colossians 3:1-2)

We live in a day when information and sound bites and thought leaders bombard us continually. We are lured to go this way, pulled into that thought space, or shaken between conflicting ideas. We must weigh all we hear against Scripture and the revealed character of God. By prayer and practice, we learn to think His thoughts. We discipline our wills to say yes to what’s right, persevere in our calling, and resist veering off course. (1 Corinthians 2:16; Ephesians 4:1)

When we are presented a menu of items over which to tend, fret, or decide, how do we discern God’s way? With a broad array of information to digest and either dismiss or believe, how do we know what is true? Praying for wisdom and immersing ourselves in God’s inerrant word are the best way to detect truth, and falsehoods when they poke and pester. (James 1:5)

Lord, show me Your ways and hone my discernment, that I may know and honor You in every endeavor. (Exodus 33:13)

One thought on “Honing Discernment”

  1. SPOT ON. I praise God for how he gives you this discernment and his words in such a time as this ! Xoxo

    Jan Gruetzmacher



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