Summary: #9 in the Nehemiah Series deals with Geshem, an enemy who symbolizes our propesity for worldly compromise and yeilding to temptation.
Book of Nehemiah Series #9
Nehemiah Chapter 6
Geshem and Worldly Compromise.
By Pastor Jim May
Nehemiah 6:1-2, "Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief."
Last week we saw that one of the greatest enemies of Israel wasn’t an enemy from without the camp, but an enemy that sprang up from within their own ranks. That enemy is called Division in the Ranks. Satan knows the Word of God better than most of God’s own people, and he knows that a “house divided against itself cannot stand”. It was his plan to destroy Israel and stop Nehemiah from the work of rebuilding Jerusalem by bringing Jew against Jew.
God moved on Nehemiah, a court was held and the matter was settled and they began to work once again. The walls were finished, the breaches filled, and the frames of all of Jerusalem’s gates were repaired and ready for service. The work was nearly done, but the time for rejoicing was not yet. A wall nearly finished is still a wall that’s not finished.
In our walk with the Lord let us never give up, or stop to rest, even for a moment, but let’s continue to build our relationship with the Lord until he calls us home. It won’t do to live for God for 5 years, 10 years, or 50 years, only to give up and backslide at the last minute. The end will be the same if we don’t finish the race. We have to cross that finish line and we can’t allow anything, or anyone to stop us. The closer we get to winning the race, the more devious Satan’s attacks become. He is a relentless foe and will never stop trying to stop the Kingdom of God from growing in us.
When the work began on the wall, it was Sanballat’s mind games that were Israel’s enemy. This corresponds to the newborn Christian who faces fear and mockery as his old friends and family try to tell him that he has “gone off the deep end”, “got religion”, or will never make it.
Then, when the walls were half height with breaches still in them, the attacks took on the form of physical threats. This is a picture of a Christian who is a little older and a little wiser. He has had time to build a better relationship with the Lord and has better defenses against the attacks of the devil. Mind games don’t bother him anymore because he has learned that God give us a Spirit of Love and a Sound Mind. The helmet of Salvation now protects him from the mind games of the devil.
Nehemiah started to build when there was no wall at all: just the wreckage of a ruined life, under the bondage of the enemy. Then the wall comes up, but it’s not secure yet. There is much to learn and do in our walk with the Lord, and Satan attacks us all along the way. Then finally the wall is built. Now we have a defense against the devil’s attacks. Our faith has grown; our trust has grown; and now we aren’t so easy to defeat whenever the devil comes knocking. Now he has to find a new tactic to come against us.
I’m not tempted to drink. I’m no longer tempted with many of the things of the world. I’m not tempted to rob, steal, kill or do anything so obvious that the entire world could see my mistake. But I haven’t arrived yet. There are some things that are still tempting, even though my faith in Jesus and love for him is strong.
We become a mature believer in Christ who has learned to stand strong in the Lord. So what could penetrate our defenses now? What can Satan, or Sanballat bring against us now to bring down our walls?
Jesus gives us the answer to this question in Matthew 13:22 when he said that the seed of salvation can be overcome by, "… the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches” that choke the Word and make us become unfruitful.
Once the wall is finished, a frontal attack won’t work. If there are no breaches in the wall for the enemy to sneak in, where does he go from there? If his army is not powerful enough to overcome your defenses and Satan cannot enter because of the presence of the Lord in your life, then how can he possible bring you down?