Summary: I read this week that last year over 5000 drivers were killed last year because they were texting on their phones while driving. Lot of people think it’s safe…it’s not. On the average
“Help, I’m Drowning in Ridicule”
If we look carefully at the scripture one of the things that quickly emerges is this fact: life can be a struggle....it is a battle from beginning to end. It doesn’t have to be but many times it is. In the book of Ephesians Paul tells us “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” You may think that a certain individual is causing problems in your life, and they may very well be, but remember there is a greater power behind them working through them. You see, these powers of darkness show themselves in many forms. Paul described them as darts or flaming arrows and so we get a clear picture of this and the effect they can have on our lives in this passage. They hurt, they sting; they can even destroy. So as a word of encouragement, the apostle Paul says, do these things we just mentioned but in addition, also do this…. take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
These darts have a specific purpose…..they are designed to (1) lead us into temptation and (2) they are designed to falsely accuse. One of the named Satan is given in the Bible is the great accuser. He loves to ridicule God’s people.
Now Satan has at least 2 ways of getting to you and me. (1) The first tactic is fear. Peter tells us that Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. So he ridicules us and we become afraid. Now if that doesn’t work… He has another battle plan as well. He not only uses fear, he will also use flattery. He tells us that we are invincible. We can do anything. He tells us that what he is offering won’t cost us a thing. You can get away with it. It’s free. Here take it. But know this that whatever method he uses....... his aim is to ridicule us and to destroy your spirit. And that is not new information. That has been his goal from the beginning of time. And because we know that this is how he operates, we must constantly be on guard.
Now to give you an example of what I am talking about I want us to see how this played out in the life of an OT prophet named Nehemiah. The setting here is that the walls surrounding the city of Jerusalem have been torn down and the gates have been burned to the ground. They no longer exist. This was of course their protection. It’s similar to someone removing the front door of your home. It changes everything. Most of us are not going to say…hmmm I wonder if I will be able to sleep tonight with my house wide open like this. Burglars…..raccoons. We have to do something about it before we will feel safe.
So Nehemiah had called all the people together to rebuild it. And at this point in the story it has just been finished. Now enter Lucifer…Satan…the deceiver….the great liar…. reached into his toolbox and pulls out one of his favorite weapons. RIDICULE. The Bible says that his language is “lying.” At one time or another all of us have been ridiculed.
Follow the scripture with me. Verses 1-4. The wall is going up; progress is being made. There are times when you and I are doing well…we are moving forward and Satan says I don’t like that…so he reaches into his toolbox and pulls out one of his favorite weapons…one of his favorite tools. RIDICULE.
In chapter 4 they were doing the same thing…they were making fun of Nehemiah…they said if a fox climbs up on the wall, the wall will probably collapse…they stood there laughing at him.
Now they change the strategy and they say, OK. I tell you what, let’s all just get together and talk. ….. It sounds harmless……. but their motive is still the same. They want to do anything they can to stop the work. So Nehemiah says, look I’m doing a good work here…..why should I come down from the wall now? He knew something was up. The truth is that the people are now planning to murder him when he comes down. What looked like an innocent request was actually a very dangerous request.
Look at verses 5-9. Now Nehemiah is doing everything he can to keep from getting distracted. They have already sent 4 notes to him…each one with the same request to come down so they can have a meeting. Each time he has given the same answer. No. So since they can’t get him to come down they decide to try another tactic. They will just attack his character. So they send a 5th one. Now the first 4 have been sealed…this one is already opened…it gives you the idea that everyone has already seen it… And it is full of rumors…...full of ridicule. Satan loves to circulate rumors. And most of the time …..guess what?.... he has plenty of help. And when rumors are going around about us most of us get very distracted. It’s hard to focus.