Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of loving devotion with those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to hear the prayer that I, Your servant, now pray before You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins that we Israelites have committed against You. Both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have behaved corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that You gave Your servant Moses. They are Your servants and Your people. You redeemed them by Your great power and mighty hand. O Lord, may Your ear be attentive to my prayer and to the prayers of Your servants who delight to revere Your name. Give Your servant success this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”- Nehemiah 1:5-7,10-11 BSB
Nehemiah is such a great example of the type of Leader, God is calling us to be in these last days. We must remember WHO WE ARE, and WHOSE WE ARE, and WHY WE ARE HERE! We are to do things IN THE WORLD, but we do them because we are IN THE KINGDOM. The things on this planet are temporal, but we were made for ETERNITY, the ETERNAL things. We get to earn our GIFTS in Heaven, by what we do in the battle for our LORD on this planet. Since we are not of the world, but in the world we are called to fight the good fight. 1 Timothy 6:12 is clear: Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. If we are to fight and be victorious we need to make sure we PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD, and be AWARE that we are in a battle and that the PRINCE OF THIS WORLD, the Prince of the Power of the air is working against us through His people and God’s people! We must stay on mission for our Lord and beware of the wiles of the enemy. The Enemy is deceptive, the enemy has false motives, the enemy shows up in many forms and the enemy was to distract us. Look at the temptations of Christ in the desert. In Matthew and Luke, Chapter 4 we hear the devil misquote scripture and play on the details of the moment to dissuade and distract, to demean and delay, to doubt and to do us in! When tempted and distracted, Jesus always responded with- IT IS WRITTEN. The only way to combat the LIES OF THE DEVIL is with the TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE. We must identify the lie, and replace it with the Truth!
Leader, in Matthew 5:21-28, Jesus covers the 6 contrasts: You have heard it said…but I say…. As we saw with Daniel, he was familiar with scripture and let it guide him. When we understand His Word, we are able to better ascertain HIS WILL. We have a whole society built on lies. Scripture says the evil one is the prince of this world (John 14:30). We have lies about what is beautiful, lies about what it means to be successful, lies about God, lies about creation, etc. John 8:44 tells us this about the devil; When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. When you add all that to the fact that the devil even deceives with his identity. The expanded bible puts it this way: This does not surprise us [And no wonder, since…]. Even Satan ·changes himself to look like [disguises himself as; masquerades as] an ·angel [messenger] of light [C trying to fool people into thinking he is from God, who is pure light]. (2 Corinthians 11:14. Nehemiah is a great example of how to overcome the devil and his trickery. First, he did it by discerning the lies of the enemy. The enemy hates anything of God and anyone who represents God. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were deeply disturbed that someone had come to seek the well-being of the Israelites. (Nehemiah 2:10) I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me, and what the king had said to me. “Let us start rebuilding,” they replied, and they set their hands to this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about this, they mocked us and ridiculed us, saying, “What is this you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” (Nehemiah 2:18-19) Once we realize this, the enemy hates things and people of God, we can realize we are in enemy territory. “Then the Jews living among our enemies came and said this to us ten times, “Our enemies are all around us. They are everywhere we turn.” (Nehemiah 4:12) If you are a child of God, you are living in a fallen world and you must realize: THE ENEMY IS ALL AROUND YOU! This is not your world!
Conduit, When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left—though to that time I had not yet installed the doors in the gates— Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to harm me. So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it to go down to you?”(Nehemiah 6:1-3) Once we have discerned the lies of the devil, and realize the enemy is all around us, now we must stay on Mission. Nehemiah gives us a great example: Nehemiah didn’t come down for the STUPID STUFF. This is a distraction. Realize the world is going to hate you, it is full of haters- and that you are called to a greater good! This allows you to stay on Mission no matter the distraction. Stay focused, stay on mission, and stay true to HIS WORD and HIS WAY. Since this is a battle, and since God has no secret agents, it is time to come out of the closet! We live in a time when everybody else has come out of the closet. If it is ok to share your homosexuality and your hatred of all things good and all things God, then why are there still Christians playing SECRET AGENT? Closet Christians NO MORE. Get OUT of the closet, be bold, be proud to be a servant, and agent, an ambassador-in-chains, a CHILD OF THE RISEN KING! We are to be building the KINGDOM of God, while we are defending ourselves from the attacks of the enemy. Again, another lesson to learn from Nehemiah, through his actions. They had to build and fight. The story gives us the vivid picture of these men with a brick in one hand and a sword in the other. And that certainly says something about our work, about our function. We must use the Word of God to build ourselves up. But we must also watch and guard and fight. The day we put the Sword down the devil will break through and steal! …each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped to his side while he built….(Nehemiah 4:17-18) Soldier on and remember our simultaneous tasks: Build for the Kingdom and defend with His Word.