Summary: #6 in the Nehemiah series deals with Sanballat, the symbolic figure of our most powerful enemy, Satan, and the fact that his attacks always begin in the mind.
Book of Nehemiah Series #6
Nehemiah Chapter 4:1-6
Sanballat’s First Attack is against the mind.
By Pastor Jim May
The last several lessons have been concerning how we build a wall, and restore the gates, in our pursuit of Jesus. We became a Christian as we entered through the blood of the sacrificial Lamb at the Sheep Gate and we completed the construction of the wall as we came to the Sheep Gate once again, recognizing that Jesus Christ is the beginning and end of all things. He is the Alpha and Omega, who is from everlasting to everlasting. In our service to the Lord and for the Lord, we must constantly be working on maintaining our “wall of separation” from the ways of the world. We must constantly be repairing the breaches to keep the enemy from coming in to reoccupy the heart that has been set apart for Jesus.
Now the wall is complete, signifying that we have separated ourselves unto the Lord and we have committed ourselves to Him. The first 3 chapters have brought us to the place where we are truly sold out to Jesus and separated from sin. We are New creations, born again from the ashes of sin and defeat, with a heart after God.
Now we begin the 4th chapter of Nehemiah and we see the very first obstacle that every Christian must face as they begin a new life in Christ.
Nehemiah 4:1, "But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews."
Sanballat typifies once of the greatest enemies that all of us will face. His very name points to who he is and what kind of character that he has. His name means "a secret hatred". Who else can Sanballat represent other than the greatest enemy of our souls, Satan. Sanballat couldn’t hide his hate for Nehemiah and the Jews. He was visibly angry and began to show his hatred by mocking those who had built the walls.
Like Sanballat, the devil’s hatred is against all mankind. But for those who are lost, his hatred it is so well hidden that most do not even believe that he exists. They are blinded to the fact that they are his captives, bound by the power of sin. They refuse to become Christians because they don’t want to lose what they think is freedom! This all changes once the wall starts going up! If there is one thing that gets Sanballat’s nose out of joint, its people who begin to build the walls of salvation, restoring glory to its rightful owner who is God!
This first attack of Sanballat represents Satan’s first attack against a Christian and that attack is an attack in the mind!
The Apostle Paul, knowing Satan’s ways, wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…"
Paul also said in Ephesians 6:17 that our Christian armor must also have a, " helmet of salvation” so that we can keep our thinking right when the devil does attack.
Both of these passages are concerned with spiritual warfare and both show us the constant need to protect and renew the mind.
Nehemiah 4:2-6, "And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders. So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work."
What methods of attack did Sanballat use against Nehemiah and the Jews? If we can recognize them, then perhaps we can have a heads up on what methods Satan will use against us.
One of those methods was called fear. Sanballat accused the Jews of being too weak to finish the job. You are never going to make it. You will backslide. You won’t stay faithful. You’re just too weak. You’re afraid that you will fail God in some way, and you will.