Don't Quit Attacks on Leadership
This is our 3rd week on the subject of attacks and the 3rd chapter in Nehemiah about these attacks.
Week one the enemy sought to stop the building of the wall through mockery.
(even if a tiny fox jumps on the wall will it not fall down)
The Jews continued to build the wall. They had a sword in one hand and they did work with the other.
(They were building and defending the entire time)
So they built the wall. That is they stayed focused.
Last week, we looked at attacks from the inside.
The Jews were charging unfair interest rates on each other to the point that some children were being sold in slavery so that families could eat. Nehemiah was having to buy back these.
Colten worked on a lego on stage and then slowly we saw how attacks from within cause us to tear down what we work so hard to build up.
Dayle said I was in tears because I saw how quickly you tore down what took Colten time to build. It takes more time to build up and it is so easy for the enemy to use us to destroy what the Lord has built up.
This week the attention of the attacks focuses in on the leadership of Nehemiah himself.
We see today some very strong leadership lessons in Nehemiah 6. Leadership is not easy and presents many challenges.
The enemy has tried to attack through mockery and stirring of the people. The enemy has tried to intimidate the Jews and workers on the wall. The enemy tried to cause division from within. Now, the enemy turns the focus upon the leadership.
If the enemy can discourage the leadership, then all progress will stop. Watch the different methods the enemy uses.
1 When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gap was left in it —though at that time I had not installed the doors in the gates — 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: “Come, let’s meet together in the villages of the Ono Valley.” But they were planning to harm me.
The work is almost complete. Everything is done except installing the doors in the gates.
The enemy starts to attack the leadership.
Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, and the rest of their enemies had opposed everything they had been doing.
They are now offering to meet in a village halfway between Jerusalem and Samaria where they could make plans to work together.
The enemies of Nehemiah are starting to feel defeat and in this defeat their strategy becomes, If you can’t whip em, join em and then take over!
Leaders must stay proactive against the attacks of the enemy
3 But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.
But they were planning to harm me
2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: “Come, let’s meet together in the villages of the Ono Valley.” But they were planning to harm me.
Cooperation in the Lord’s work is a beautiful thing, leaders must be careful that they cooperate with the right people at the right time for the right purpose; otherwise they may end up cooperating with the enemy.
Satan is crafty or cunning. He is a master deceiver and has his servants ready to join hands with God’s people so he can weaken their hands in the work.
Compromise can be a good thing. It can be a good thing in marriage or among the the church body. This compromise comes from people who have the same goal and purpose.
Be determined says,
When you invite the devil to join your team, expect him to change the rules and the goals; and expect to be defeated.
2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: “Come, let’s meet together in the villages of the Ono Valley.” But they were planning to harm me. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”
Nehemiah uses discernment to determine his response to the enemies offer.
He knows they are lying and they want to harm him.
He stays focused on what God has called him to do. (v. 3)
Offers from the enemy can be defeated by simply staying focused on what God has called you to do.
God calls you to gather with the Body of believers on Sunday morning so the Saturday night offer to go party is easily defeated when you need to get up and worship Jesus on Sunday morning.
The enemy wants to distract. Stay focused.
Nehemiah had discernment and determination
4 Four times they sent me the same proposal, and I gave them the same reply.
God is unlimited and we grow everyday in who he is and learn new things about him all the time.
The enemy is limited and not to creative.
Here he brings the same attack 4 times and the same attack demands the same response.
Don’t let persistency be the reason you give in. It’s the same attack.
That doesn’t work so the enemy pivots
5 Sanballat sent me this same message a fifth time by his aide, who had an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written: It is reported among the nations—and Geshem agrees—that you and the Jews plan to rebel. This is the reason you are building the wall. According to these reports, you are to become their king 7 and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf: “There is a king in Judah.” These rumors will be heard by the king. So come, let’s confer together.
The letter is open
This means anyone can read it. If it was a closed letter, then it was meant only for the person that it was sent to.
This letter is intentionally left open in order to harm.
The letter is full of slander.
The letter is accusing Nehemiah of sedition. This would be a serious charge in their day because Persian kings tolerated no resistance from their subjects.
Truth does not always have to be defended. If it’s truth, then it will be discovered and you don’t have to spend endless hours defending the truth.
The enemy could use this accusation and the defense of it to distract from the work at hand
How do you make an unreasonable person look unreasonable?
You put them in front of reasonable people and let the unreasonable be themselves.
8 Then I replied to him, “There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind.” 9 For they were all trying to intimidate us, saying, “They will become discouraged in the work, and it will never be finished.” But now, my God, strengthen me.
Notice Nehemiah’s short one sentence response
There is nothing to these rumors...
He could have defended each of Sanballat’s accusations
Nehemiah also prays
my God, strengthen me
The enemy pivots
10 I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was restricted to his house. He said: Let us meet at the house of God inside the temple. Let us shut the temple doors because they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you tonight!
Beware of false prophets
We will protect your life
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? How can I enter the temple and live? I will not go.” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, because of the prophecy he spoke against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me. 14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who wanted to intimidate me.
Nehemiah’s occupation, He was cupbearer to the King. Does a cupbearer enter into the temple?
NO Only the priest is to enter the temple
God will never tempt you with evil
13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone.
God never instructs us to do anything that goes against God’s word
Ladies God will never send you someone else’s husband. Men God will never send you someone else’s wife.
Recognize that if it goes against the Word of the Lord then it is not from the Lord even if the proposal benefits you
15 The wall was completed in 52 days, on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul. 16 When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God. 17 During those days, the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18 For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, since he was a son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19 These nobles kept mentioning Tobiah’s good deeds to me, and they reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
Over the last couple of years I came to the realization that the attacks from the enemy have not changed.
The enemy may have pivoted a little but the attack remains the same.
The attack is quit, it is not worth it, you are tired, stop trying and you name it.
These last years the enemy has thrown some wrenches in to the mix but the message remains the same.
The grace of Jesus has grown so much. The faithfulness of Jesus has been so persistent. His love has increased immensely. A caring concern of a father