Sermon shared by Jim Drake
Summary: When Satan comes against God’s people, he doesn’t use a rule book. The Bible describes him as the father of lies. He is a liar. So why would we expect a liar to fight fair? In our passage today, we can see four dirty tricks of the enemy.
Audience: General adults
About Sermon Contributor
Believe it or not, I used to be pretty rough as a kid. We moved around a lot. And one of the things that can happen when you move a lot is you can get in a lot of fights. People want to see what the new kid is all about. They want to see how he fits in. So there’s always somebody willing to start stuff. I was always taught that you never start a fight. And my temper is such that it takes a lot to make me angry enough to fight. As a matter of fact, it usually took getting hit. But once I got hit the first time, I usually finished it. But one thing I remember about those fights. There was always some type of unwritten rule book. There were things to do in a fight that were okay. And there were things that you just didn’t do. I don’t know who came up with the rules, but they were just understood. But sometimes, people wouldn’t abide by those rules. They would resort to what we would call “fighting dirty.” That’s how our enemy fights, isn’t it? When Satan comes against God’s people, he doesn’t use a rule book. The Bible describes him as the father of lies. He is a liar. So why would we expect a liar to fight fair? In our passage tonight, we see that the same old enemies were coming against Nehemiah again. Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arabian and all the rest of them were taking another shot at God’s people. This time it was just a little bit different because they were getting desperate. They were getting desperate because the wall was almost finished. Verse 1 tells us that the wall itself was complete. The only thing they hadn’t finished was hanging the doors on the gates. So you can see how the enemies’ window of opportunity was closing. And when the enemy begins to feel a sense of desperation, he will certainly resort to some dirty tricks. That’s what Nehemiah’s enemies did. In our passage, we can see four dirty tricks of the enemy. The first dirty trick is popularity. Look back at verses 1-2:
Popularity can be a dirty trick of the enemy, can’t it? Notice how Sanballat and Tobiah changed their tactics. All the other times, they were openly defiant. They lined up their troops outside Jerusalem and taunted the people. They plotted and planned skirmishes and attacks against the people. They even spread malicious gossip amongst the people. But nothing worked. So they had to change their course. Now they were trying to be friendly and diplomatic. “Nehemiah, why don’t you come out and just talk to us a little bit.” “We’ve got your best interest at heart and just want to help you.” “We have some information that you really need to know.” “All we really want is just to be your ally.” You see, the meeting that they were presenting to Nehemiah was supposed to look like a diplomatic meeting. They proposed a neutral site between Jerusalem and Samaria. And for all appearances, it would look like they were going to make a treaty with Nehemiah. They were trying to make it look like they were bringing him into their little club. “Now that you’ve got your wall done, we’d like to invite you into our club.” Our enemy uses that dirty trick too, doesn’t he? “If you just turn your focus off the Gospel just a little bit, you can make people happy with you.” “If you just compromise a little bit, people will flock to you.” “You can be popular.” “You
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