I keep returning to the word “focus” when reading Nehemiah. This chapter is about opposition, and it’s all psychological: intimidation and lies to try and break N’s confidence. The things that opposers suggest appear logical: come and meet with the neighboring countries and discuss your plans, hide in the temple because your life is in danger.
N is wary of the motives of others, fully aware of their interests and connections. But above all his mission is between him and God, and that gives him supreme confidence and focus.
His default position is to reject others taking control of what his mission means or his next step. He cannot be spooked by fear for his own safety or his political survival. He trusts that God wants him to do what he sent him to do, and won’t be distracted. Safety and politics will fall into place.
Focus, from listening to God first.