Today we look at Noadiah, an Old Testament prophetess. She’s mentioned in only one verse, but what a sad verse it is.
Nehemiah 6:14 says, “My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.”
So first, who were Tobiah and Sanballat? Tobiah was an Ammonite official and Sanballat was a Horonite. When Nehemiah first arrived in Jerusalem and met with the governors of Trans-Euphrates, and told them what he had planned, Tobiah and Sanballat were disturbed that someone had come to help the Israelites.
When work began on the wall, they mocked the Israelites, saying they’d never be able to build a sturdy wall that would withstand attack. When they saw the wall coming together, they conspired together with other enemies of the Israelites and plotted to attack and cause confusion. But God protected Nehemiah and the Israelite workers.
It’s somewhat understandable that Tobiah and Sanballat would oppose Nehemiah’s work. But why Noadiah? She was a prophetess. Her name means “One to whom the Lord revealed Himself.” She should have been an ally, not an enemy. But just because someone is in a position of authority, even if they’re a respected church leader, does not mean that they’re walking with the Lord.
It’s easy for church leaders to get caught up in themselves. In Noadiah’s case, she was a woman in a man’s world. Most likely she felt threatened by Nehemiah and the changes he brought about. As long as chaos ruled, she had more authority than when everyone was working together to do the Lord’s work. Just as politicians often create chaos in order to cement their control, perhaps that’s what she was doing.
Whatever Noadiah’s reasons, here’s the important thing to note. In the end, God won. Nehemiah, Shallum and his daughters, and all the other rulers, priests, and builders worked together until the wall was complete. And Tobiah, Sanballat, and Noadiah will forever be remembered for opposing the work of the Lord.
What about you? Are you in harmony with the Lord, or are you fighting Him? Are you resisting the changes that He’s bringing about in your life? Are you acting in fear, trying to intimidate those who oppose you? If so, it’s not too late to change sides. Wouldn’t you much rather be on the side of the Lord than against Him?
Lord God, I thank You that You give us as women wonderful opportunities to serve You. Thank You for allowing women to be prophetesses and to do Your work. Forgive us, though, when we lose sight of You and get caught up in our own pride. Open our eyes and reveal to us the direction we’re headed so that if we’re going against You that You’ll make it clear. Steer us in the right direction. Give us courage when we’re afraid. Remind us that there’s no safer place to be than walking next to You. We love You. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.