Summary: Continuing look at enemirs of faith. This week discouragement based upon the Book of Nehemiah. Discouragement that comes through Foes, Friends and False Prophets.
Enemies of Faith – Discouragement
Today we continue in our series of enemy to our faith – we have dealt with “The Divided Mind” and “Fear” - now we will look at discouragement using portions of the Book of Nehemiah.
The tool used to bring discouragement is the tongue – whether in criticism, slander, threats or lies it is speech either in spoken or written form – this is the opposite of faith - Romans 10:17 so then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Nehemiah means consolation of Jah this speaks of the Holy Spirit John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another (Comforter) Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. Nehemiah is representative of “the Spirit filled believer” – it is also pictures any work the believer undertakes through the Holy Spirit.
If you’re going to do a work for God - no matter how small or how large - you will face opposition to your work. Nehemiah began to build the walls - but as soon as he started the work there was an opposition that came his way. First there was external opposition; then there was also internal opposition
There are forces and characters, personalities in the spiritual world, who are interested in our downfall; they are interested in keeping the word of God back.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:11 said these words: ’Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices’ - if we, as believers, are going to build for God we have to know the plan and the strategy of the evil one
FOES - External Opposition
Neh 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of it, they were deeply disturbed that a man had come to seek the well-being of the children of Israel.
Neh 2:19-20 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?" So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."
Neh 4:1-9 But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish--stones that are burned?" Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, "Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall." Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity! Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders. So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.
Neh. 6:1-6 Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm. So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king.