August 22, 2012
Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps remained--though we had not yet set up the doors in the gates. So Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realized they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: "I am engaged in a great work, so I can't come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?" - Nehemiah 6: 1-3 (NLT)
One of the spiritual realities we need to be aware of is that there is an enemy to our soul. Unfortunately, some modern theology has downplayed the devil or even worse preached that we need not concern ourselves with him. We would be wise to not follow such teaching as we ignore the enemy at great risk to ourselves because the Bible explains that he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. I have watched him devour friends of mine. The Bible also says that we should not be ignorant of his schemes. Who goes to war and ignores the enemy? Who engages in a battle but doesn't bother to discover all he can about his adversary? That would simply be folly. This is not to give too much credit to the enemy, which Christians are known to do as well. The devil cannot make you do anything beloved. All he can do is present you with a lie to consider believing that is in opposition to the Word of God. Is it always a lie? Yes, because the Bible says that lying is his native language! It is all he knows how to speak and he is not bilingual! There is a stark difference however between not giving him too much credit and not being wary of him and his schemes. Balance is always the key.
The Book of Nehemiah is a great story about
the rebuilding of the walls of
No matter what they tried however, the walls
were being rebuilt and we come to the key verses above where the enemies hatch
a scheme to draw Nehemiah out from
The second lesson is that we must realize that the purpose for the meeting request is always to harm us. Nehemiah realized this in the key verses. Look, there is a reason he is called the enemy! He does not have our best interests at heart. Just like he did in the Garden of Eden with Eve -- he will mix just enough truth with just enough lies to engage us in a conversation. Eve lost the battle when she answered the enemy. When she agreed to meet with him in the Plain of Ono. Eating the forbidden fruit was just a result of accepting the meeting.
The third lesson is that the work we are doing for God is a great work. It is an important work. It is the work that we were born for. No matter what the enemy presents to us as being more important -- nothing is. Nehemiah's answer needs to be our today as well -- why should I stop working to meet with you? Now the enemy will try to do a masterful job of convincing us that the work we are doing is not that great. Or that it is mundane. Or that anyone else can do it. In every instance; any work done for God is more important than any reason the enemy would want to meet with us. One of his schemes is to downplay the importance or effectiveness of the work that we do. Don't fall for it.
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. -- 1Corinthians 3: 6 (NLT)
Realize that we may never see the effectiveness of our efforts until we see Christ in glory. Our work is done in the faithfulness of who God is not in any measure of self. The final lesson from the key verses today is that when we stay faithful to the work and avoid the schemes of the enemy we can expect supernatural provision, protection, and in the end all glory will go to God.
So on October 2 the wall was finished--just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God. -- Nehemiah 6: 15-16 (NLT)
Just 52 days! The entire walls of