Summary: The aim of this word is to enable people who are involved in the work of the Lord to recognize and understand the enemy’s schemes and how to defeat him!
August 24, 2003
A. A Son’s Best Friend, Citation: Jeanette Naaktgeboren, Maple Lake, MN. Christian Reader, "Lite Fare."
My three-year-old grandson obviously had food on his mind when he headed for the church kitchen, leading his father by the hand.
However, neither his father nor the ladies he approached were prepared for Gregory’s strategy.
If the ladies had any thought of denying his expected pleas for an advanced sampling of food, they were disarmed by a moving demonstration of a healthy father-son relationship.
Still holding his father’s hand, Gregory looked up at the ladies and proudly announced: "I want you to meet my friend, Dad!"
B. That is a great strategy for a three-year-old!
1. And today, as we continue our study of the book of Nehemiah, I believe that there are some things that we can learn about strategy in Spiritual Warfare!
2. I believe that whether you are spiritually mature or you are a spiritual three-year-old, there is some wisdom here in the fourth chapter of Nehemiah…
I. The Story
Attack #1: Sanballet and Tobiah become angry
Nehemiah 4:1-6 (NIV), When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble--burned as they are?" 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, "What they are building--if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!" 4 Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders. 6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
1. Well, Sanballet and Tobiah have moved from “disturbed” to “angry.”
2. We saw that coming, didn’t we?
3. We knew they weren’t going to just stay “disturbed!”
4. They mocked and ridiculed the people back in chapter 2.
5. But Nehemiah responded to their ridicule and the people began the work.
6. Chapter three records where the people worked.
7. Nehemiah begins at the Sheep Gate and tells who worked on it and moves completely around the wall of Jerusalem describing who worked where until he comes back to the Sheep Gate at the end of the chapter.
8. The people have begun the work on the wall and the gates and now Sanballet and Tobiah are angry about it.
9. Verses 1 – 3 record what they two of them were saying.
Response: The people prayed.
1. Nehemiah records the prayers of the people in verses 4 &5.
2. They prayed that God would take care of their enemies.
3. They knew they were doing God’s work and they prayed for God’s protection from their (and His) enemies.
Result: Work continued
1. Verse 6 records that the wall work continued.
2. Nehemiah says they rebuilt the wall to half its height.
3. And Nehemiah says they did the work of the Lord with all their heart.
4. No half measures for God’s people, but whole-heartedness.
Attack #2: Sanballet and Tobiah become very angry
Nehemiah 4:7-9 (NIV), But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
1. Well now don’t you just feel sorry for these two?
2. Now they’re not just “angry,” they’re “very angry!”
3. First they were “disturbed,” then they were “angry,” and now they are “very angry.”
4. Now it appears that they have rallied some allies: the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the men of Ashdod.
5. And they are all “very angry.”
Response: The people prayed and posted guards
1. Again the people prayed in the face of opposition.
2. Again the people responded to the attacks of the enemy with prayer.
3. And this time they decided to post guards.
4. After they prayed, they felt lead to post guards.
5. You see, they didn’t just sit back and expect God to take care of the problem for them.