Summary: The devil is the sinister minister of fear. It's the opposite of faith, which is what pleases God. Fear Degrades our Lord, Destroys our Lives, and Delights our Enemy. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
In chapter 6 it's the devil's last ditch effort to stop the good work on the wall. We have seen him use distraction and slander, and now fear - [worry, anxiety, nervousness.]
Twice in our passage we see 'afraid' and also 'fear.' The enemy said, 'run for your life Nehemiah', but in v. 11 he said, 'should such a man as I flee?'
The devil is the sinister minister of fear. It's the opposite of faith, which is what pleases God.
3 points on fear:
1. Fear Degrades our Lord.
It's an insult to God.
An insult to His sovereignty - He is in control, but fear says no He's not.
An insult to His providence - He guides us, but fear says, no He doesn't.
An insult to His power - He protects us, but fear says, no He doesn't.
ill.--When Israel left Egypt they were halted at the banks of the Red Sea. They were afraid and said, wish we had died in Egypt! Why were they afraid? They forgot what God had just done thru the 10 plagues to get them out. Fear comes when we forget that God is standing right beside us!
Fear degrades our Lord. He is insulted as we forget His presence and stop trusting in Him.
So, God parts the waters for Israel and they cross, miraculously, on dry ground. So now, all their fears are dispelled, right? Wrong! Soon they run short on food and water and say, Moses, did you bring us here to die? Sure, God can part the waters, but can He give us water in the desert? Yes, He did, right out of a rock, and manna from the sky! Are they over their fears now? No! They come to the edge of the Promised Land, some of the spies return w/ a bad report and what gripped their hearts? Fear! See how fear degrades our Lord?!
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:
Get the picture, here's Paul in prison, telling a guy who is free not to be afraid. This means that fear should have nothing to do w/ our circumstances. Fear is a choice. So is trust!
12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
I'm in prison, but I know who's in control, who's with me, who's providing for me, and who's guiding me. He's trusting in the sovereignty, providence, and power of God!
Like Paul, Nehemiah isn't focused on the enemy but on God.
v. 11-12a, 9b When we are fearful, we have forgotten 3 things:
• Who God is.
• Whose we are.
• What God has done for us.
Fear degrades our Lord.
2. Fear Destroys our Lives.
25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
A snare is a trap. What does a trap do? Immobilize! Render ineffective!
In our text the enemy wants to trap Nehemiah w/ fear. There was a prophet named Shemaiah, not a real man of God, but a hireling who did it just for money. The enemy uses Shemaiah by paying him to set a trap. He hid in his house and pretended his life was in danger. He got Nehemiah's attention and urged him to flee ... an attempt to get him to leave the work of the wall.
v. 12 Nehemiah recognized Satan's fear trap.
Satan is still laying that trap for us today.
Fear brings a snare, and it also brings torment.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
You can torment yourself physically with fear. Anxiety, ulcers, high blood pressure, stomach problems of all kinds.
Who here is terrified of public speaking? Come on up and finish the message will ya?!
Fear is to the body what sand is to machinery. But faith is like oil.
ill.--a man was getting up in years. His brother died, leaving him a million dollars. The kids were afraid to tell Grandpa about this big inheritance because he had a weak heart. They didn't want him to have a coronary. They said, let the pastor tell him, he's trained at breaking bad news. They instructed the preacher and he agreed. He joined grandpa on the porch, rocking. A little small talk, then he broached the subject. "Just hypothetical, what would you do if you inherited a million dollars?" He said, "Well, at my age I don't really need it. I guess I'd just give it all to the church." The preacher fell over dead of a heart attack.