"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Saturday, July 22, 2023


INTRODUCTION: Our enemy’s intentions is to stop the work of GOD, to prevent our involvement, or at the least distract and detain us in our endeavors. He will use so-called urgent matters, threats, false accusations, pretense, and intimidation.

If GOD so commands us to fulfill His will, then all other considerations, influences, and demands are to be summarily swept aside, accounted for nothing!

If there are any insurmountable objects blocking our way, we will pray to the LORD Who has ordained our path and expect Him to remove said obstacles out of His path and His plans so that we may proceed in accomplishing His purposes, His good works that He has ordained for us (EPH 2:10).

Let us witness Nehemiah in the battle, observe both his tactics and those of his enemies. Let’s be sure to take notes, for are we not all of us engaged in the same “war of the ages” that he was engaged in?

1 Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates),

“…and the rest of our enemies…”
We think we have rightly identified our enemies, and it’s likely that we have, but there are enemies still unknown, unseen – faceless enemies that know us well enough, but of whom we may be ignorant (at least for the present): See (ACTS 19:5). Behind virtually any human agency that is opposed to GOD and His Kingdom, you will find strings attached to the Puppet Master Satan, pulling those strings and making that human dancing to his devilish tune!
PSALM 11:2
For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.

PSALM 64:4-6
4 That they may shoot in secret at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear. 5 They encourage themselves in an evil matter; They talk of laying snares secretly; They say, "Who will see them?" 6 They devise iniquities: "We have perfected a shrewd scheme." Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep
. (See also PSA 37:12,32; PROV 26:24-26)
Nehemiah had to contend with those familiar enemies that we started reading about in Chapter 2:10 (19). These enemies had heard that bad news – which was good news for the Jewish people – the walls of Jerusalem were finished; the breaches were repaired. The only thing left to do was to restore the gates. Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab understood that if those were put in place, then the city would be quite impregnable indeed.

They had tried to stop the work before and failed; they know that it has to happen now or never!

2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" 4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. 5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand

The LORD tells us, "Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool” (ISA 1:18).

He wants sinners to come to Him for their good and His glory – to transform condemned sinners into commended saints; He wants to repair the terrible damage that sin has caused in us wayward souls, just as He commissioned Nehemiah to repair the damage done to the City of Peace, Jerusalem which resulted from Israel’s rebellion and the consequential assault by the Babylonian armies under Nebuchadnezzar. He had only the best of intentions in wanting us to draw near to Him.

Satan is the opposite: he has his things with which to draw people, but only for the purpose of deceiving, using, then ultimately destroying.

This was the plan of these men as well: they wanted to draw Nehemiah away from the security of Jerusalem, bring him to this place of vulnerability (“the plain of Ono”), and undoubtedly slay him. I can just guess what Nehemiah was thinking: “Ono you don’t! I see right through you!”

It’s always when GOD is doing a great work, that the enemy shows up and wants to draw us away – so that the work will cease. These enemies of Nehemiah as much as said so:

NEHEMIAH 4:11-12
11 And our adversaries said, "They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease”. 12 So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, "From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us”

It's been said, “Satan always attends a service where GOD is doing great things”. He is the adversary, and his intention is to thwart the kingdom of GOD and the work of the saints who build in that kingdom. This can be seen in almost any recorded revival – yes GOD does a great work in these, but so does Satan in his attempt to deflect or sabotage what the LORD would do.

Satan will try to play nice, and flatter, seduce and deceive, but when that doesn’t work, the fangs and claws come out! And he goes on the attack aggressively.

In Nehemiah’s case it would seem a harmless thing to show up to a meeting with one’s opponents – maybe they just want to talk? Come to a mutual understanding? A compromise that everyone can live with? But their intentions were just the same as before – to stop the work and kill Nehemiah if that’s what it takes!

Sanballat sent word to Nehemiah not once or twice, or even three or four times, but once more after that in the form of a written letter (five times in all!). If anything, this man was stubbornly persistent!

So is Satan; since he is a spiritual being, unencumbered by flesh and blood that can grow weary, there is no tiring him, his league of fallen angels, and his droves of demonic spirits.

The late and great gifted apologist Walter Martin was once involved in an exorcism, where the demon spoke from the victim’s mouth, bragging, “You will never win!”
“Why is that?” Walter asked.
“Because, I will outlast you!”

True enough in our own human strength, but since our battle was never against “flesh and blood” anyway (2 COR 10:4-5; EPH 6:12), it stands to reason that we must resort to spiritual resources and weapons: specifically, those of the LORD!

And if Satan is a stubbornly persistent foe, then the Holy Spirit is a far, far more supremely persistent friend! As we wait upon Him, He will move on our behalf, and with His power (we trade up for when we exchange our own human powers) we will soar, not grow weary and conquer in the name of JESUS our LORD (ISA 40:31)!

Why is it that so many Christians are falling into temptations, and growing weary under the oppressive powers of our enemy? Why are so many growing weary in the fight?
The remedy for such things is simple: remaining in the Word of GOD, and in prayer, godly fellowship, walking in the Spirit in obedience to the Holy Scriptures. This doesn’t make our warfare easy, but it is simple – have you ever heard of an “easy war”? But if we maintain our stand with Christ, and more so – yield to His power as He stands with us, we can weather the storms that Satan assails at us (MATT 7:24-25).

With an open letter in hand, beseeching a meeting to take place, Sanballat and company would seem noble and endeavoring for peace – the letter would be apparent evidence towards these motives (though truly, these petitions were pretense and false!).

6 In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. 7 And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, 'There is a king in Judah!' Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together

Here is a blatant example of attempted coercion: this of course is a false accusation that the enemies of Israel claim to be the truth, and with which they threaten the Jews that they will “report” this to the King of Persia and put Nehemiah in some seriously hot water. They claim that Nehemiah is declaring himself a king and intends on an insurrection against the authority of Persia.

Geshem seems to be the source of this “information”, or more appropriately labeled as propaganda. Always the rebellious will intend to paint the saint in the worst light possible with unfounded accusations and even attempts to frame them in some conspiratorial efforts. I’ve read articles where well known evangelists had scantily dressed women jump into frame while perpetrators quickly took photos, making the evangelist look bad.

Note what the LORD Jesus says,
MATTHEW 5:11-12
"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
It’s vital that any such accusations are false, for if we are guilty of any unrighteousness, our witness for Christ is tainted, and in the eyes of the world, invalidated. Yet even here a fallen saint may be restored by the Spirit of the LORD!

Our mission:
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life
In today’s world what with CGI and totally believable imagery and video that can be produced by such, the powers that be can literally put words into the mouths of those who never said what they say we said.

But the so-called evidence is there for all to see: they see our face, they hear our words, and never question that it’s likely a fabrication to “accuse us falsely”.
As saints, all we can do is make certain that by the grace of GOD, our witness is true before His “eyes … of fire” that tries every soul and “knows our works” (REV 2:18-19). He is the Judge of the whole Earth Who will do right (GEN 18:25)!

Remember that our LORD Himself was falsely accused (MATT 26:59-61; MARK 14:55-59) and so was the apostle Paul (ACTS 21-24).

And the LORD admonished us by telling us:
MATTHEW 10:25-26
"It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household
(See also: MATT 12:24; MARK 3:22; LUKE 11:15; JOHN 8:48,52)!
26 "Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known (also: MARK 4:22; LUKE 8:17; 12:2-3).
We need not fear any such false accusations (or for that matter, even martyrdom; MATT 10:28), nor are we obligated to defend ourselves. The LORD Who is Truth will ably defend us where He so chooses (PSALM 20:1); and if He refrains, it’s only that our persecutors will become all the more culpable in their misdeeds (MATT 18:6) for persecuting the LORD’s body (ACTS 9:4-5). It’s no wonder that the LORD directs us to pray for our enemies (that they might be saved; MATT 5:44) for without such, they who poke their finger in the eye of GOD (ZECH 2:8) are in desperately terrible trouble, facing astonishing judgment for their transgressions (REV 20:12).

8 Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart." 9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done." Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands

Sanballat brought this accusation up previously:
NEHEMIAH 2:19-20
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?" 20 So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem
(PSALM 80:6).
By threatening the Jews with these contrived misrepresentations, they were hoping they would discourage them in the continuation of the work. By continuing after they were warned with such threats of “ratting on them” to the King of Persia, it might seem that their accusations were correct and perceived as insurrection by the King.

The very objective of the enemy “to weaken [their hands] in the work” as seen here is opposed by Nehemiah, not by argument or persuasion or evidence to the contrary, but by a simple denial of these lies firstly, and secondly by prayer to the LORD, that He would strengthen the hands of Nehemiah.

NEHEMIAH 6:10-14
10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you." 11 And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!" 12 Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me. 14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid

Here is a bit of subterfuge: under the pretense of meeting secretly and safely in the Temple (with doors closed to prevent any eyewitnesses!), Shemaiah feigns concern over Nehemiah’s life: “they are coming to kill you!” When in fact, this is yet another trap in which to catch this godly man by first inspiring fear in him, and as a result coerce him to this place of supposed safety, just to kill him, and rid themselves of “the Jewish problem”.

They further hope to convince Nehemiah to violate the Temple, which only the Levites and especially the house of Aaron were allowed to enter, by entering it himself – something that he was wholeheartedly opposed to doing as he was a godly man of integrity!

And Nehemiah wasn’t about to flee from danger: he was standing secure in the city of Jerusalem, which is not just “the city of peace”, but the city of “the Prince of Peace”!

We have the same Prince and “Potentate” (1 TIM 6:15) as Israel! And we stand secure in the Person of Christ and find ourselves entirely safe during the attacks of the enemy: not to say he won’t attack, or that we won’t feel the effects of those attacks, but ultimately we are just as safe in the nail-scarred hands of GOD as Job was, when he was devastated by Satan’s attacks, but nevertheless declared by faith:
JOB 1:21
And he said: Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD


JOB 13:15
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him
This man of GOD, the cup bearer for the king, asks the LORD to remember the deeds of these conniving, corrupt, pestilential people and to reward them accordingly. This is the conduct of Old Testament saints who could call upon GOD to work vengeance upon their enemies (PSALM 58:6), whereas the New Testament saints are admonished to love and pray for their enemies (MATT 5:44; ACTS 4:15-30). Some might say, What about in REVELATION and those souls under the altar?

This “prophet” for hire proved to be entirely unprofitable, as are all “hirelings” (JOHN 10:12-13).
9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?
Which in my mind is just one of many indicators that the time line during the seven year period known as Daniel’s 70th week, is not “new testament” in the sense that this is a finishing off of what began at the commencement of the edict issued to go and restore the city of Jerusalem. This continued up until the crucifixion of Christ, and restarts and ends with the “tribulation” and the Time of Jacob’s Trouble – but I digress…

In the next verses of Chapter Six we see a turnaround! Before it was the Jews who were despondent and felt like giving up in this hopeless situation, what with the ruin of their beloved city:

NEHEMIAH 4:10-12
10 Then Judah said, "The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall." 11 And our adversaries said, "They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease." 12 So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, "From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us

But now the tables have turned and it’s the enemies of Israel who are disheartened! The LORD was faithful in accomplishing EVERYTHING that He had promised!
We await the final days when the LORD will have fulfilled all of His purposes for this fallen world, and it’s when the LORD Jesus Christ returns to this world, ousting the old satanic management and their leader, Satan himself, from this domain – consigning them all to “the second death” (REV 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8) that His reign shall rule supremely forever and ever, ultimately disheartening everlastingly, the wicked hearts of fallen angels and humanity (REV 20:10-15)!

NEHEMIAH 6:15-17
15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God. 17 Also in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them

By way of reminder – it was in the first few chapters that the work on the walls and city proper was completed. The remainder of this book deals with the people themselves – who were in every way in need of restoration as Jerusalem the city. The work on the wall took only fifty two days. The remainder of the work took substantially longer! Yet the LORD will prove just as faithful in restoring His people as He was in restoring the city!

NEHEMIAH 6:18-19
18 For many in Judah were pledged to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 19 Also they reported his good deeds before me and reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to frighten me

From Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

See the mischief of marrying with strangers. When men once became akin to Tobiah, they soon became sworn to him. A sinful love leads to a sinful league. The enemy of souls employs many instruments, and forms many projects, to bring reproach on the active servants of God, or to take them from their work. But we should follow the example of Him who laid down his life for the sheep. Those that simply cleave to the Lord and his work will be supported.”

And from Patrick/Lowth/Whitby/Lowman Commentary:

For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, Against the interest of their country, and of their religion; to such a height of impiety were many arrived.

“Because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; So dangerous were marriages with foreigners, which Ezra therefore had great reasons to make void; for by these alliances they were engaged in wicked designs against their country

With strong conviction with absolute certainty that GOD solemnly warns His children of light regarding having unions with children of darkness, and what our proper conduct as disciples of Christ should be:
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.

5 For this you know that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is

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