Know Your Enemy
“Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of my enemies heard that I had built the wall…they intended to do me harm.”-Nehemiah 6:1-2 (NASB)
I taught on Nehemiah 6 this past Sunday at my church. Nehemiah is such a great book in regards to faithfulness, patience, leadership, and wisdom.
Here is a portion of the sermon…
A little background, Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. Now, in this role he had a great connection with the King. He was close to Artaxerxes and played a significant part in his kingdom.
One day, Nehemiah had an interaction with his brother and some others who had been to Jerusalem and seen the destruction of the city. The exiles who had returned were unable to rebuild the wall and they were open to attack.
Nehemiah was broken for his people and sought God’s guidance and blessing to help repair the ruin.
When we step into chapter 6, we find Nehemiah almost finished with the wall. He even says, “…up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates”, so he was close to completion and had worked hard to finish the task in the designated time Artaxerxes had given him.
He had faced opposition throughout the process, but at this stage he experiences it at a whole new level.
Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem had created lies and spread rumors to bring Nehemiah down from the wall. He had been diligent in his calling and these guys were trying to distract him, in fact, they were trying to make him afraid to do the work and waiting for the opportunity to take is life.
Nehemiah recognize the evil desires of these men and knew they were not looking out for him, but were in fact his enemies. They sent a message to ask for a get together to discuss the wall and the work, but their true intentions were to destroy Nehemiah.
Nehemiah’s response, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop…”
Nehemiah had a great work God had called him to do. In fact, we all do. We are all called by God to reveal His glory to the world through our love, service, and sharing His message of good news in Jesus.
Yet, we have enemies that will come in to ruin our purpose. We might have friends or family members who want to distract us from what is our call. We might have co-workers or romantic relationships that are hindering us from pursuing God’s lead in our lives.
For some of us, the enemy is ourselves. We tell ourselves we aren’t worth it. We tell ourselves we can’t accomplish anything for the glory of God. We believe that our work is worthless and someone better will come along and do it, so why even try.
The difference between Nehemiah and some of us reading is, he recognized who his enemies were. He called it like he saw it.
We all need to have the same strength to call out our enemy. Maybe not to their face, but know who or what it is, and be ready to deny the call when it comes beckoning us from our ladder.
God wants to use us and our story to assist in the rebuilding of this world. He wants us to be a part of His mission of restoring His creation. He wants us to share His message of hope and reconciliation, but we can’t do that very well when we come off our ladder to respond to our enemies.
We need to take time to think about our enemy. Who is it? What is it? How often do we find ourselves stepping away from God’s call to respond to the call of our adversary?
May we be aware of who is out to destroy us and remember the God we are serving. May know our enemy and respond as boldly as Nehemiah in order to continue pursing God’s purpose for our lives.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: How can you be better at responding to those who are against God’s work in your life?