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March 15, 2024

God Never Lies, and He Never Loses


Nehemiah, Chapter 6:


“When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that there were no more breaks in it—even though I hadn’t yet installed the gates—Sanballat and Geshem sent this message: “Come and meet with us at Kephirim in the valley of Ono.”

“I knew they were scheming to hurt me, so I sent messengers back with this: ‘I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?’

Four times they sent this message and four times I gave them my answer.

“The fifth time—same messenger, same message—Sanballat sent an unsealed letter with this message:

“‘The word is out among the nations—and Geshem says it’s true—that you and the Jews are planning to rebel. That’s why you are rebuilding the wall. The word is that you want to be king and that you have appointed prophets to announce in Jerusalem, ‘There’s a king in Judah!’ The king is going to be told all this—don’t you think we should sit down and have a talk?’

‘I sent him back this: ‘There’s nothing to what you’re saying. You’ve made it all up.’

“They were trying to intimidate us into quitting. They thought, ‘They’ll give up; they’ll never finish it.’

“I prayed, ‘Give me strength.’

Then I met secretly with Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, at his house. He said:

“‘Let’s meet at the house of God, inside The Temple; Let’s find safety behind locked doors because they’re coming to kill you, Yes, coming by night to kill you.’

“I said, ‘Why would a man like me run for cover? And why would a man like me use The Temple as a hideout? I won’t do it.’

“I sensed that God hadn’t sent this man. The so-called prophecy he spoke to me was the work of Tobiah and Sanballat; they had hired him. He had been hired to scare me off—trick me—a layman, into desecrating The Temple and ruining my good reputation so they could accuse me.

“‘O my God, don’t let Tobiah and Sanballat get by with all the mischief they’ve done. And the same goes for the prophetess Noadiah and the other prophets who have been trying to undermine my confidence.’

“The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul. It had taken fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard the news and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies totally lost their nerve. They knew that God was behind this work.

“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.” (Nehemiah 6:1-19 The Message)


PARALLELS TO TODAY

This account of Nehemiah and the remnant working with him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem is in many ways a parallel to our efforts in restoring America. The enemies of God, led by Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, were trying desperately to keep them from succeeding, and the remnant had to be very diligent in order to succeed. Who were these enemies?


“The Horonites (Sanballat) and Ammonites (Tobiah) were two of the people groups God had driven from the Promised Land for the Israelites. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were regional governors serving under the king of Persia [present-day Iran]. Sanballat, called a Horonite, was probably from Horonaim, a city of Moab. Tobiah the Ammonite was governing an area east of the Jordan River. Geshem the Arab was most likely from the region south of Judah. Generations after Israel had first possessed the Promised Land, some of their old enemies were back, seeking to keep Jerusalem in ruins.”(1)


Their “schemes” (verse 2) were significant and diverse, but all were intended to intimidate (verses 9, 14, 19). The phrase “trying to undermine my confidence,” (verse 14) is key to what satan, through these men, was trying to accomplish, just as he does today. Satan cannot overpower God’s people; his strength is his ability to deceive. He uses this method to attack our faith. In this scenario, satan used:


  • Mocking: (They did so here in chapter 6, but this is especially emphasized in chapter 4.)

  • False prophets: They were used in attempts to try and trap Nehemiah into moving presumptuously;  and also to erode his confidence by causing him to question whether or not he had truly heard from God.

  • Spies and traitors: Nehemiah's enemies planted individuals who pretended to be friends, but were actually trying to get information in order to use it against him. 


A read of the entire book of Nehemiah, which is a fascinating and easy read, will reveal other tactics the enemy used.


REQUIRED FOR SUCCESS

What was required of Nehemiah and the remnant in order to succeed?


  • Faith: The workers had to keep themselves focused on what God had said, which is the way in which faith comes and is sustained. Faith is not positive thinking, the absence of negative thoughts; that can be accomplished without God or His Word. Biblical faith comes when we allow Holy Spirit to bring God‘s words alive in us. They grow until fully developed, at which time we are confident that He will do as He says. This produces not only confidence, but boldness and fearlessness.

  • Hard work: What God wanted to accomplish, would not occur simply because of His sovereignty. Nehemiah and the remnant would have to do their part, which included hard work. The same is true for us today. To say that God will send revival and reformation, healing and restoring our nation, without His people doing their part, is untrue. I have quoted the great Jack Hayford before, but do so again now, “The quest of Jesus Christ on the Earth is greatly crippled by wrong notions of the sovereignty of God.”

  • Determination: Call it perseverance, tenacity, or steadfastness, it doesn’t matter the term. Churchill had it right, one of the most important keys to victory is refusing to quit. Nehemiah and the remnant had to persevere. Satan and his allies will always attempt to wear believers down through relentless attacks (Daniel 7:25). One of the men who mentored me through his teachings and messages, Norvel Hayes, once said, “You have to be more stubborn than the devil.” That revelation may not be eloquently stated, but it will get you through a lot of “stuff”!

  • Inconvenience and sacrifice: Nehemiah and his workers had to pay a price. Most Americans, including Christians, don’t want to be bothered with hearing about the true condition of our nation or challenged to be a part of the answer. When they gather, they want to fellowship and party, not war. So, God uses the few who are willing to be inconvenienced, and to sacrifice their time and energies for His cause. My advice to the remnant: get over it, and keep working.

  • Discernment: False prophets, spies, traps - all were used to try and deceive Nehemiah. He had to stay focused on what God was saying and rely on Holy Spirit’s discernment to shield him from these attacks. We must do the same. Our enemies accuse us of wrong motives, of wanting to end democracy, of being racists and bigots, of wanting to control everyone else, of being religious fanatics, yada, yada. They even find allies in the church. Don’t allow these lies to intimidate or distract you. Nehemiah said, “I’m doing a great work. Why should I waste my time meeting with you or listening to you?” (verse 3). Anyone who tells you God does not want to send revival and restore America is ultimately maligning His heart, character, love, and mercy, not yours. He loves to save even his enemies. Love them and let God do the rest.

  • Prayer: Nehemiah had to pray. “Give me strength,” he asked the Lord (verse 9). “Don’t let them get away with it,” he prayed (verse 14). We must continue to appeal to heaven. Our requests are used by God. Our voices of declaration, of saying what He says, are the swords He wields. The authority of Christ is released through our mouths and actions, as is the power of Holy Spirit. We are His access to the Earth; we are His methods. Don’t back up, and don’t back down. He is using our prayers to save millions.


Finally, Nehemiah and the team finished the task of rebuilding the walls and hanging the gates. And God was glorified:


“When all our enemies heard the news and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies totally lost their nerve. They knew that God was behind this work” (Verse 16). 


America, too, will one day know that God has prevailed and healed our land. We will not gloat, but we will rejoice. And we will invite them into the family. 


Millions will say yes.


Pray with me:


Father, we thank You for our brothers and sisters led by Nehemiah who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. They inspire and instruct us. Thank You for their sacrifices, their love for You, their faith, and their perseverance. As obedience to You always does, You used these actions to generate Your will. You never lie, and You never lose.


We are determined to follow their example. We pledge to You that we will not quit; we will not yield in our faith and perseverance. We have put our hand to the plow, and will not look back. Our love for You, and for the lost and hurting will keep us motivated. Your cause is our cause; Your mission is our mission. We will persevere until we hear “Well done.” We will run the race and finish our course, always pressing toward the end line You have given us.


We decree that Christ will have His harvest; He will reap the reward of His suffering. Your promises to Him will not go unfulfilled. And we pledge to You that we will not be a generation You have to skip over in order to give this to Him. Like David, we will serve Your purpose in our generation. And we will never stop declaring, “Kingdom of Jesus Christ, come! Will of Jesus Christ, be done on the Earth!”


May the sword do its work!


Our decree:


“A mighty fortress is our God…and He will win the battle!”(2)


Click on the link below to watch the full video.

 



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