1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates- 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages [a] on the plain of Ono.”
But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written:
“It is reported among the nations—and Geshem [b] says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together.”
8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”
11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.
14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.
I don’t drink, I don’t swear, I do not kill, or commit adultery. I really do not covet and I do not steal. This is the common logic of most Christians. But the most useful tool of the enemy is NOT physical outward sins. His strongest attack is on our MIND. This silent, secret stuff that no one ever sees. One of my favorite preachers, Paul Washer, puts it this way, “If I were to take every single thought you have had from birth up to this point in your life and put them on a projector. Then if I was to play them for the entire congregation as a slide show, you would be MORTIFIED! You would run out of the building in shame.” It is easy to seem put together in our outward actions but not always as easy inside our innermost being.
Nehemiah knew that he would meet with resistance when he rebuilt the wall. And Tobiah and Saballet tried every scheme in their arsenal to stop him. But when known of their physical threats seemed to work, they started attacking his mind. Oh that sly serpant! They send a message trying to persuade him of what is going on causing him to worry and weaken the building effort. They were purposely feeding him a lie to dwell on. Oh but Nehemiah was not biting on that apple.
But then, within his own camp, a prophet warns him of coming doom. Again.. Thought of deception being planted. Wait, read that again. A prophet, among his own people? Nehemiah himself in verse 13 says ” He had been hired to intimidate me…”
So Nehemiah is being fed lies and deceit from those without and from those within. But he does not lose his resolve or strength in God and in fact he instead prays for them.
So what lies are you allowing yourself to dwell on? What have you heard from television or from advertisements, or from enemies, or from trusted friends that may have you fearing, doubting, worrying or questioning your purpose and your calling.
Remember when the serpent approached Eve all he had to do was cause her think about it… “Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree?” So subtle.. Doubting what God had really said. I know there are a lot of times I can use little thoughts to justify going against things I know that God has REALLY said. I allow those thoughts to control my actions.
If you are struggling with worry, doubt, fear, self esteem issues, and on and on… Remember Nehemiah took them to God in prayer.. . Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2Cor 10:5
We have got to consciously choose to bring all those out of control thoughts under the direction of Christ. Evil thoughts, mean spirited thoughts, impatience, intolerance, unloving thoughts. Worry, fear, doubt, insecurity. Every thing must be brought to Christ and reorganized into his thoughts.. His Joy needs to penetrate into our souls and our minds.
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.