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Satan's Greatest Tools

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Arise And Build!  All Things Are Possible With God’s Help

Satan’s Greatest Tools

Nehemiah 6:1-14

       It was advertised that the Devil was going to put his tools up for sale.  On the date of the sale, the tools were placed on display, each being marked with its sale price.  There were a treacherous lot of implements:  hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit, lying, pride, and so on.  Laid apart from the rest was a harmless looking tool that was well worn, and priced very high.

       “What is the name of this tool?” asked one of the purchasers, pointing to it.

       “That is discouragement,” the Devil replied.

       “Why have you priced it so high?”

       “Because, it is more useful to me than the others.  I can pry open and get inside a man’s heart with that, when I cannot get near him with the other tools.  It is badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since so few people know it belongs to me.”

       Americans think the devil is nothing more than a cartoon character or someone created by Hollywood special effects, but the Bible treats him as a real, evil angel, who is in rebellion against God and His people.  And discouragement is one of the greatest tools that he uses against God’s people.  Now, don’t forget that the devil can work through any person or situation, because it’s not so much what he does to us, as it is how he gets us to perceive various situations.

       We can see all through the book of Nehemiah that Satan has been trying to discourage Nehemiah and the Jews in various ways.  Now, we see him at it again.  To get the specifics of the story notice with me please Nehemiah 6:1-14.

(Even though discouragement is probably Satan’s favorite tool, in the passage before us we see two other tools that He also uses to try to bring about discouragement and defeat.  First, he used:)

I.     Compromise (vv. 1-4).

The wall was completed.  There were no broken down places in it.  It was totally completed, although the doors had not been hung.  At this time Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and the rest of Nehemiah’s enemies heard the report.

       I am sure that the report has gone out about The House of the Lord.  Everywhere I go people have heard about what God is doing here.  That means that our enemies have heard the report too, so beware!

Now, when Satan finds out that he can’t stop you through opposition, he will try compromise.  When He couldn’t stop the Children of Israel by attacking them on their wilderness journey, his strategy became to get them to intermarry with the enemy, even though God had already warned them against this sin.

       When you are doing something for Jesus, Satan will try to get you to compromise…compromise your calling, compromise your commitment, compromise your integrity, compromise your effectiveness.

·        He wants us to intermarry with the enemy.

·        He wants us to intermarry with sinners!

·        He wants the Church to intermarry with politics, social agendas, and worldliness.

There is a difference in speaking politically and speaking prophetically.  To speak politically is to speak to the civil administration or government.  To speak prophetically is to speak a fresh word from the Lord that at least

1)    points towards the future,

2)    reveals the present priorities of the Lord for someone’s life,

3)    sheds light on the mysteries of life, and/or

4)    makes sense out of pain.

       We must remain true to the Word of God.  We must do what only we can and should do!

(So, let’s consider Nehemiah’s answer to his enemy.)

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”  There is no greater work than the work of God.

·        Some work for the councilman, but I work for the Counselor.

·        Some work for the mayor, but I work for the Master.

·        Some work for the government, but I work for the Kingdom!

·        Some work for the Senate, but I work for the Savior.

·        Some work for the House of Representatives, but I work for The House of the Lord.

·        Some work for Chief of Staff, but I work for the Chief Shepherd.

·        Some work of the president, but I work for the King of kings and Lord of lords.

       What is the work that we ought to be doing in this NT. dispensation?  We ought to be preaching the Gospel, witnessing, winning souls, making disciples, and setting people free, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with miracles, signs, and wonders.  For us, building buildings is a function of the effective work of God.

·        Some don’t like my personality, but I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.

·        Some don’t like my theology, but I’m doing a great work and I cannot come down.

·        Some don’t like my methodology, but I’m doing a great work and I cannot come down.

·        Some don’t like my perception, but I’m doing a great work and I cannot come down.

I must continue to do what God has called me to do, in the way He wants me to do it!

       Nehemiah knew how to say, “No!”  A good leader must learn how to say, “No!”

·        I must say, “No,” to some speaking engagements.

·        I must say, “No,” to some programs and movements.

·        I must say, “No,” to certain people that I can’t be affiliated with.

Proper vision and focus upon the vision often necessitates a, “No!”

(But there is a second response here in the form of a question:)

“Why should I stop the work while I leave it and come down to you?”

Why should we stop winning souls and affecting lives?

·        Should we stop because someone is planning to harm us?

·        Should we stop because people don’t like our methods?

·        Should we stop because people don’t like us?

·        Should we stop because we sometimes get hurt?

·        Should we stop because we are misunderstood?

The apostle Paul said,

Romans 8:18 (NASB-U), “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Paul knew about suffering for the Lord.  He wrote in

2 Corinthians 11:25-28 (NASB-U), “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. [26] I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; [27] I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. [28] Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”

Yet he said in

2 Corinthians 12:15 (NASB-U), “I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls.  If I love you more, am I to be loved less?”

There is no good or legitimate reason for stopping the work of God!

But Satan is persistent.  He will continually try to put pressure on you.  But, Nehemiah knew how to say, “No.”  We must learn how to say “No” to Satan.

To say “No” to sin, self, Satan, and the world, is an automatic “Yes” to Jesus Christ.  To say “No” to Jesus Christ is to say an automatic “Yes” to sin, self, Satan, and the world.

(Satan not only uses compromise, he uses consternation.)

II.    Consternation.

(Consternation is a synonym for fear and Satan uses two tactics to try to frighten Nehemiah and the Jews.  The first tactic that Satan uses is:)

A.    Defamation (vv. 5-9).

Defamation is slander, a false accusation, or a lie.  A lie was published that was supposed to frighten Nehemiah and cause him to stop the work.

Sanballat tries to intimidate Nehemiah with an open or public letter.  Anybody could read this letter and come up with their own personal conclusions.

       Likewise, Satan will try to intimidate you.  Many times Satan has tried to intimidate me about my position on political issues, the importance of interpersonal relationships, the direction of this church, etc.  But I’m doing a great work and I cannot come down!

(Then, Satan moves to the second defaming tactic.)

So, Sanballat resorts to blatant lies.  He accuses Nehemiah of treason.  He accused Nehemiah of rebuilding the wall so He could be king and rebel against Artaxerxes.  Think of the impact of this letter as it was either read or posted publicly.  Nehemiah must have wondered, “What will the king think about this?”  He must have wondered whether the King would recall Him and cancel the project.

       This has happened to me and every ambassador of Christ many times.  Many lies have told on me and published abroad.  I have wondered and still wonder what the impact of people’s lies are and will be upon this ministry.

Sanballat also accused Nehemiah of appointing prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem that he was king.  And Sanballat invited Nehemiah to come and talk to him about how he could help him.  He was saying in effect, “I’ve got you now, so you had better come and talk to me.”

(Now, notice Nehemiah’s response to fear, lies, and blackmail.)

He points out that the things they were saying were being invented in their own minds.  So, he didn’t try to defend himself, he simply identified their statements as lies and let it go at that.  Some things do not deserve a response or defense!!!

Well, in the course of time, Nehemiah finally states the reason for the actions of Sanballat and all of the enemies of the Jews:  fear.  They were trying to frighten them into stopping the work on the wall.

       One of Satan’s biggest weapons is fear.  Fear leads to discouragement and discouragement leads to idleness.  Fear of Jezebel led Elijah to get discouraged, run and sit down under a juniper tree.

       There is nothing to fear but fear itself, for Jesus has promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us.  Fear is often:  “False Evidences Appearing Real.”  Paul said, “If God be for us who can be against us?”

       Nehemiah answers their lies with the only answer that they deserved:  Prayer.  He prayed, “O God, strengthen my hands.”

Lies will be defeated when we pray, are empowered by the Holy Spirit, and we finish the job!

(Satan could not stop the work through defamation, so he resorted to:)

B.    Deception (vv. 10-14).

(The deception employed here by the enemies of the Jews is espionage and subterfuge.  They could not defame Nehemiah’s integrity and reputation, so they planted a spy in the camp of Nehemiah to try to frighten him and cause him to ruin his reputation.)

Here is Satan’s last all out attack before the wall is completed.  What does He use?  Rumor again!  Nehemiah is facing two main problems:  (1) the threat of death; and (2) the rumor mill.

       I have faced the threat of death before and it is an awesome test indeed of one’s motivation and characterCan you do your job, when someone has threatened to kill you?

       The second problem is that the threat is coming by way of the rumor mill!

One of the most deadly things in the visible Church is not a lack of Bible reading, or prayer, or even too much T.V.  One of the most deadly things in the church is the tongue!

James 3:8 (NASB-U), “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.”

The rumor was, “They are coming to kill you, and they are coming at night.”  The first question that comes to mind is, “Who are they?”  The second question that comes to my mind is, “Where did the informant get his information?”

I have faced the rumor mill repeatedly and it is an awesome test of one’s resistance and persistence.

·        Resistance is the ability to stand firm against the attack.

Resistance is going to require us to develop a thicker skin.  I am not talking about the callousness that has resulted from ongoing pain or institutionalized prejudice, but not being thin-skinned.

·        Persistence is the power to keep on doing the job that God has given me to do.

Persistence is at least dependent upon focus and stick-to-itiveness!

Well, here, Nehemiah’s character shines forth.  First, he realized that a man in his position should not show such fear and self-interest by running away from his mission, because of rumors.

Secondly, he realized that he was not a priest, but a government official.  So, running into the sanctuary of God was forbidden and carried the death penalty.

Consequently, because of Nehemiah’s character and biblical values, he was able to think and pray before reacting.

Then Nehemiah’s Spirit-influenced perception kicked in.  He perceived that Shemaiah was lying.  He perceived that this man was a spy.

       Some of you probably wonder, “How did he know?”  He knew because of God and his experience.  He knew because the Holy Spirit revealed it to him.

A good leader is very perceptive and wise.  A good leader is baptized in the Holy Spirit and has the spiritual manifestation of the discerning of spirits at his/her disposal.

Sometimes by the power of the Holy Spirit and because of my experiences in dealing with people, I can just sense that somebody is lying or that something is not right.  This is an outgrowth of spiritual and personal maturity.

Hebrews 5:13-14 (NASB-U), “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. [14] But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

So, twice in this chapter, Satan has tried to use on of his favorite tools:  fear.  If Nehemiah had been a coward, Sanballat would have succeeded in his plan.  There are two very important lessons in this passage of Scripture:

(1)    Don’t react in fear.  You will probably sin.

(2)    Replace your fear with faith.

Satan has tried to frighten me many times in many ways.  He has used rumors as well as death threats, but the measure of faith that God gave to me as a part of saving faith has sustained me in difficult times!

Once again we can see Nehemiah responding to rumors with prayer.  Truly, Nehemiah was a man of prayer.  Satan used his greatest tools of compromise, fear, defamation, rumors, lies, espionage, and discouragement to try to stop the project.  But, Nehemiah responded wisely with work and prayer.

(Now is the Day of Salvation.  Come to Jesus, now!)


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