the enemy’s strategy
“He had been hired to intimidate me…”
“we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against Principalities and Powers (spiritual)..” The chapter six of Nehemiah portrays some of the common strategies of this invisible enemy. These strategies were not only true in Nehemiah’s time, but through the generations; they are relevant even today. We can be more effective to fight our enemy when learn how the enemy fights against us.
The first strategy of the enemy (Sanballat, Tobiah and Gershem) was to ‘sidetrack’ and ‘lure’ Nehemiah away from the project (wall building) to a meeting; to bring Nehemiah out of Jerusalem, where they could either deal a compromise or harm him, as he himself pointed out, “But they were scheming to harm me…” (Neh.6:2). Nehemiah firmly responded that he was busy with the project and had no time for their meeting. Nehemiah stuck to his calling and was focused with strong determination to complete the project which he did in 52 days. The enemy will try to entice you away, but don’t allow the enemy to lure you away from your calling and the task God has given you. Be focused and determined.
The second strategy was to ‘accuse’ Nehemiah of leading a revolt against the King of Persia. A false report was sent out saying, Nehemiah was purposing to be a King and had induced certain Prophets to proclaim him king. Sanballat invited Nehemiah for a negotiation, with a pretense of stopping the report from reaching the King’s ears, but his intent was to pressurize him to quit building the wall in Jerusalem. But Nehemiah responded again with a clear response, “Nothing like what you’re saying is happening; You are just making it up out of your head.” (Neh.6:8). Don’t pay attention to the accusations, which are the lies of the devil. Pay attention to what God is saying.
The third strategy, similar to the one enemy used against Daniel. This is what the enemies of Daniel said, “we will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of God.” The devil has been playing this game since Eden, he uses religion to destroy you and me. The devil twisted the scripture to fix this couple into a great fall. That’s exactly what he did with Nehemiah. He used one of his own people, Shemiah, probably a priest, (Nehemiah’s friend whom he trusted) to tempt and put fear in the heart of Nehemiah to flee and hide in the inner room of the temple. But Nehemiah being the man who had reverence for the law of God, rebuked Shemiah and rejected the offer outright by saying, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life?” Shemiah tempted him to break the law by fleeing into the holy place and shutting himself up there, where no one but a priest or Levite might enter. The enemy can use anyone; even Peter to rebuke Christ, to hinder Him.
And the fourth strategy that was used his relationship, by marriage. Scripture says, “All during this time letters were going back and forth constantly between the nobles of Judah and Tobiah. Many of the nobles had ties to him because he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah. They kept telling me all the good things he did and then would report back to him anything I would say. And then Tobiah would send letters to intimidate me.” (Neh. 6:17-19 – MSG) Tobiah took advantage of this matrimonial relationship and abused this intimacy with the leaders of Judah exchanging letters and secret information about Nehemiah, to intimidate him, despite the fact that the wall was completed. Why? The truth behind this continual intimidation was to thwart the ultimate purpose of the whole project. They failed to understand that God is the protector of His people, His project, and is always in it. He is the Lord of the whole project including His people.
Some of the important lessons that we can glean from Nehemiah chapter six:
- Discernment – The power and gift of discernment that operated in Nehemiah’s life and ministry is evident. Every leader needs this very important gift of discernment to help analyze and identify critical situation and be able to make the right decision and to spiritually test and know the spirits.
- Commitment – Nehemiah was committed to the call with full dedication, what come may, he would not be diverted nor distracted from God’s call and purpose in his life. His mind and spirit was set in one direction alone – God’s direction.
- Transparency – Nehemiah as a leader, was like an open book, his own people and even the enemy could see him as he is. There is nothing to hide from anybody, his transparency made him a successful leader.
- Prayer life – More than eleven times the book records the simple, short and direct prayers–of course, one prayer of intercession for his own people. Nehemiah’s derived his patience and strength from his prayerful life while fully engaged in the project. In every difficulty he called upon God and his prayer never went unanswered.
- God’s hand – In every situation we see the hand of God was there to strengthen, sustain, and accomplish His purpose. Is the hand of God over your entire life?
Nehemiah was very sure that the project of building the wall belonged to God, and he was only a tool and a steward. He never doubted the hand of God. My friend God’s hand is with us, when we regularly pray to Him in any situation in life. Amen.