We continue are look through the book of Nehemiah.
After 52 days the wall was complete apart from the doors and gates. This sent Nehemiah’s enemies into a panic, and as a last resort they made a strategic decision to switch their attacks from the people to Nehemiah himself. Three strategies were used that Satan continues to use today to undermine Christian leaders:-
1 – Isolation (v 1 – 4.)
On four separate occasions they tried to lure Nehemiah to a meeting place outside of Jerusalem, so as to isolate him from his people and his support structure. He rejected their offer for the following reasons:-
A – Preservation – He suspected that they intended to harm him, so in order to protect his own life he declined to attend.
B – Priority – Such was the greatness of the task that God had given him to rebuild the wall that he would not be deflected from this priority to attend a threatening meeting.
Satan will do all that he can to isolate Christian leaders so that they are alone and can be “picked off.” He being – “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8 v 44) seeks to spiritually kill off Christian leaders by causing them to walk alone. The answer is to always work in teams, as did the disciples (Mark 6 v 7); the early missionaries (Acts 13 v 2); and the leaders of the first churches (Acts 14 v 23.)
2 – Insinuation (V 5 – 9.)
Nehemiah received a letter from his enemies insinuating that he was planning a revolt and was about to be proclaimed king. He responded in a couple of ways:-
A – Protest – He protested his innocence, denying that there was any truth in the accusations contained in the letter, which were nothing more than a tissue of lies.
B – Prayer – He asked God to empower his resolve in the face of such “fake news” (Psalm 46 v 1.)
Satan will do all that he can to spread innuendo and lying accusation about Christian leaders in an attempt to discredit their ministry; he being – “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8 v 44); as well as – “the accuser of our brothers” (Revelation 12 v 10.) The answer is to robustly deny the untrue accusations; commit them to the God who justifies in prayer; and to get on with the task to which God has called you.
3 – Inaccuracy (v 10 – 14.)
One of the prophets in Jerusalem informed Nehemiah of a plot to assassinate him and suggested that he should flee to and take refuge in the temple. Nehemiah dealt with the suggestion in a number of ways:-
A – Presence – He would not run away and hide in the temple because his people needed his presence among them.
B – Perception – He sensed that this idea was not of God and was coming from a false prophet because it did not match up to the teaching of the Law of Moses which limited access for lay people to certain parts of the temple (2 Chronicles 26 v 16 –
C – Prayer – Yet again Nehemiah sent up an “arrow” or “telegraph” prayer.
Satan will suggest things which in a way sound perfectly plausible and “of the Lord” but are actually distortions of Biblical truth, he being the one who – “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11 v 14.) The answer is to weigh and test everything by bringing it to the touch stone of the Bible and asking the question – “What does the Scripture say?” (Romans 4 v 3.)
The result of Nehemiah withstanding these enemy strategies was that his opponents – “were afraid and lost their self confidence,” because they could clearly see that God was behind the project.
Challenge – If you are a leader then stand firm in the face of these enemy strategies. If you are not a leader, then pray for the protection of your leaders in these three areas.
Theme: “Defeating the Devil’s strategies”
Reading: Nehemiah 6 v 1 – 16
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes