Working in the book of Nehemiah this morning reminds me of an all to familiar teaching or preaching tactic ... that of concentrating on what the text doesn't say.
This comes to mind because Nehemiah 4:1-3 records the mocking opposition of Sanballat and Tobiah against the Jews who were rebuilding the wall. Then vv. 4-5 record Nehemiah's prayer to God.
I heard a preacher once emphasizing the fact that Nehemiah did not respond to Sanballat and Tobiah, but instead turned directly to God in prayer. Therefore we should not respond to our enemies but turn directly to God.
The problem is that the text doesn't say that.
In preaching and teaching, we must realize that the text does not tell us everything that happened. Historical narrative is a selective process, where the author chooses to relate only those things which somehow help his point.
Did Nehemiah speak to Sanballat and Tobiah? I suspect he probably did. But I would not preach that he didn't. Because the text doesn't say that.