August 13 - The Schemes of the Enemy
One of the ways to defeat our enemy is to have a God-given discernment concerning the schemes of the enemy. To rebuild the wall of Jerusalem was by itself a daunting task with limitations in manpower and resources. But on top of such difficulties, the enemies continually threw discouragements and traps at the Israelites to prevent their work of Kingdom building. Without discernment from God, Nehemiah would have fallen into one of their traps.
Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to Nehemiah, asking him to meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono. But they intended to do harm to Nehemiah who flatly refused their proposal. Even after four more invitations, Nehemiah held his ground and did not fall into their trap. After that, they sent an open letter to Nehemiah accusing him of wanting to become king in Judah and Jerusalem. They were aiming at intimidation for if the king believed then, the project would be terminated. At the same time as Nehemiah rejected their threats, he also asked God for protection and strengthening.
After this Shemaiah set another trap. He asked Nehemiah to meet together in the house of God within the temple. That would mean that Nehemiah have to break the law and sin against God by allowing a gentile into the temple. Nehemiah flatly refused again because he sensed that God did not send him. Shemaiah had pronounced a false prophesy for he was hired by the enemies to bring him down in sin, thus giving him a bad name. Even the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets were scheming together to make Nehemiah afraid.
The usual schemes of the enemy are by intimidation, bribery and betrayal, slandering and trapping us into sin. Sometimes the enemy uses the insiders and those on our side to feed false information and discouragement to our camp. Even the trusted prophets and the nobles were collaborating with the enemies from within. Without discernment from the Lord, it is very difficult to see through the schemes. We are to always be vigilant and aware of that the enemy is doing around us and also within our camp.
To strength our camp, we must use leaders of integrity, those who fear the Lord. Nehemiah only trusted his own brother Hanani and Hananiah who was more faithful and God-fearing than many to be entrusted with responsibilities. When a person does not have a fear of God, he would easily fall into sin. Nehemiah’s success was because he feared God and obeyed His will. The unity of the camp is crucial for victory to come. The most common denominator is the fear of God. Do you have a fear of God in your life?
Ps 87:1-7 Neh 5:14-7:60 1 Cor 8:1-13 Prov 21:8-10