Discern the Hidden Things


Nehemiah was a man who learned
to discern. Discernment is to see
behind the façade; to detect that which is disguised
.  Nehemiah had key perceptions and responses
that revealed his discerning heart, discerning evil influence from good influence.
A neighboring governor, Sanballat, used nice sounding words requesting a
meeting on the plain of Ono. This was a place out in the open away from
Jerusalem. Nehemiah discerned his nice
sounding words as a scheme
for harm saying ‘But they were scheming against me; so I sent messengers to them with
this reply……’I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down’. (
Neh.
6:1-4) Nice sounding words do not equate to Spirit-sourced motives. He discerned
the motives and responded in wisdom. 
 

Nehemiah also discerned
the motives of Shemaiah, one of the prophetic leaders, as those of a false
prophet. Shemaiah told Nehemiah to hide inside the temple to protect himself
from the enemy. But Nehemiah said ‘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.’(Neh. 6:13)
The sin
Nehemiah speaks of was two-fold: retreating into the inner sanctum of the
temple where only priests were allowed though he was not a priest; and hiding
as a coward when he was supposed to be a leader.  Nehemiah discerned that Shemaiah’s motives had
nothing to do with Nehemiah’s safety. They had everything to do with Shemaiah’s
relationship with the enemy. Shemaiah
was hiding something!! 
 

There is a special spiritual
gift of discernment (1 Cor. 12:10), but there is also a general discernment
within anyone who is filled with the Holy Spirit. You can yield to the Holy
Spirit’s voice and His impressions to detect that which is disguised. I have
found in secular and church leadership that discernment can prevent bad
decisions.  I learned to consider not
only the visible evidence of what is going on but to detect evil disguised as
good.  For example, an employee with
addictions will begin to twist truth and protect anything that serves the
addiction. At first this may not be mission-critical,
but over time becomes more and more problematic leading to mission failure. Discernment doesn’t wait for visible failure. By
that time it is often too late. Before the addiction is overtly evident, a
leader must discern nice words, deflection of accountability and avoidance of
disclosure.   A leader’s discernment then partners with
wisdom making a good decision, fulfilling God’s plan and thwarting the devil’s
schemes.

 

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