So, who do you like for our next President?
It’s a pretty important decision, isn’t it?
We have problems with the economy, the Muslims, oil prices, corruption, roads, utilities.......even the weather!
The problems facing the next president of the Philippines are complex —
more than any one man or woman can handle with their own wisdom.
We find a similar situation in the case of Nehemiah, who was given the challenge of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem about 2,500 years ago.
That’s a long time, but in this ancient story, we can also find help for the modern problems of our next president.
And not only that, each of us here can find help for our own personal problems:
all of us have (or will have) damaged areas of our lives;
weak areas where we are easily attacked by Satan.
Now, maybe you haven’t yet experienced this sort of thing in your Christian life, but you will!
The Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12,
"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms..."
And the spiritual forces of evil that were attacking Christians in Paul’s time,
Were the same spiritual forces that attacked God’s people in Nehemiah’s time,
And they are the very same spiritual forces of evil that are attacking Christians today — in our time.
And the strategies those spiritual forces used against God’s people back then are still being used against Christians today.
And the principles that God’s people used back then to overcome the attacks of Satan
we can also use in our lives today to overcome the attacks of Satan.
In the book of Nehemiah, we learn that Satan attacks God’s people in two main ways:
The first way he attacks us is described in 1 Peter 5:8 — the devil attacks us "like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
Now, a lion is a very powerful, very dangerous animal.
One bite from a lion’s jaws can snap your thigh bone like a pencil.
If a lion hit you with his paw, your head would be crushed like an egg!
I remember a joke from grade school: Q: Where does a lion sit when he watches TV?
A: Anywhere he wants!
If a lion could talk, you’d do whatever he said!
Because you’d be too afraid not to.
And this is how Satan attacks us:
He frightens us into doing what he wants.
We’re too afraid not to.
Satan uses threats from people, loss of income, loneliness, and many other things to fill our hearts with fear.
We get too afraid to do God’s will;
Too afraid to live our Christian lives;
Too afraid to defend our faith —
And we end up doing what Satan wants us to do,
because he used our own fear to bully and threaten and intimidate and harass us into it.
But Satan attacks us in another way too:
The second way he attacks us is described in 2 Corinthians 11:14 — Satan "masquerades as an angel of light."
Or, as the Message puts it: "Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God."
In chapter 4, we saw these guys, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem attacking Nehemiah and the workers.
First, they mocked and ridiculed and laughed at the workers,
But, when the work continued, they threatened them with physical violence,
But the work still continued, so, in chapter 6, they try to stop the work by using friendliness and persuasion.
Nehemiah 6:1-4 — When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it — though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates — Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: "Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono." But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?" Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
They couldn’t stop the work of God with their threats and attacks, so they changed their strategy:
All of a sudden, these guys are acting like Nehemiah’s friends:
"Labas tayo." "Jamming tayo."
"Hey, Nehemiah, come on down to our place — let’s talk..."
You will also experience this when you try to correct things that are wrong in your life.
It’s very possible that when you try to change your life for the better that your friends will become your biggest adversaries.