Nehemiah 3:15-4:5; 1 Corinthians 7:25-32; Psalms 32:8-11; Proverbs 11:24-26
OT: “When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious. He mocked the Jews before his colleagues and the powerful men of Samaria and said, “What are these pathetic Jews doing? Can they restore it by themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they ever finish it? Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?” Then Tobiah the Ammonite, who was beside him, said, “Indeed, even if a fox climbed up what they are building, he would break down their stone wall!” Listen, our God, for we are despised. Make their insults return on their own heads and let them be taken as plunder to a land of captivity.” (Nehemiah 4:1-4 CSB)
After Nehemiah’s arrival to Jerusalem and under his leadership, the people actually began making significant progress on rebuilding the wall. When Sanballat heard the reports, he was furious. A rebuilt wall meant a strengthened Jerusalem – which meant a weakened Sanballat. While it was true that after the exiles had returned, they rebuilt the temple and reintroduced the worship of God back into the land, the people were still vulnerable to Sanballat because they had no defenses. The rebuilding of the wall would actually affect his influence, and he knew that he must do all that he could to stop its progress. The first thing he did was to hurl insults and mock the people of Jerusalem. By mocking the workers, Sanballat hoped to sow doubt into their minds and discourage them from continuing. Instead of taking matters into his own hands and becoming distracted from the work he was called to do, Nehemiah trusted God to take care of Sanballat. He said, “God, You hear what they are saying to us. By insulting us, they are insulting You. Turn their insults onto their own heads.”
The devil is our Sanballat. The devil knows that he is defeated, but he still holds power and influence on the earth. While he is not happy about lost souls being saved, what really angers him is when a believer becomes strong in the Lord, and faithfully and obediently carries out the Lord’s work on the earth by the grace of God. A saved person isn’t necessarily a threat to the devil’s influence and power. A humble, committed and faithful disciple of Jesus is. As long as we stay resigned to same old-same old, mediocre, low-level earthly living, we don’t impact the devil’s work – but when we live the life that God has provided for us through Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, the devil is sure to oppose us. The primary way he does that is through accusation, ridicule and threats. When that occurs, we have the choice to either receive and believe the devils words, or submit them to the Lord and trust Him to defend us and turn the insults and accusations on the enemy’s head.
Psalms: “I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with my eye on you, I will give counsel. Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding, that must be controlled with bit and bridle or else it will not come near you. Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts in the Lord will have faithful love surrounding him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” (Psalms 32:8-11 CSB)
With David’s relationship with God restored through confession, repentance and forgiveness, he was free to be led by the Lord and receive His counsel. David wrote in Psalm 51 that the Lord is pleased when someone comes before Him with a broken spirit and a broken and humble heart. When we stay clean, pure and humble before the Lord, we aren’t hard to lead. We aren’t stubborn and rebellious. Instead we are trusting. When a horse fully trusts his master, he will come when the master calls and do what the master asks. However, a horse that doesn’t trust his master is hard to lead and must be lead with a bit and bridle. When we allow unconfessed sin to build up in our lives, we stop experiencing the fullness of God and begin relying on ourselves. We stop trusting the word, will and ways of the Lord and become resistant to His counsel and leading. That leaves us vulnerable and susceptible to the accusations and taunts of the enemy. Because we have allowed sin to inhabit our lives, the devils accusations have weight. Many pains come to the wicked because they are incessantly beaten down by the accusations and taunts of the enemy. However, as we maintain our purity before the Lord through confession and repentance… as we fully trust in the Lord and His goodness, His faithful love surrounds us and we are able to reject the enemy’s words while walking faithfully in the words, will and ways of the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, I know that Your kingdom is in opposition to the kingdom of darkness, and when I live fully in Your kingdom and faithfully carry Your kingdom into my daily life, I will be opposed by the devil. I also know that You do not expect me to take on the devil’s opposition alone. As I remain in You and remain full of Your Holy Spirit… as I trust You and Your word, will and ways completely – You will lead me, counsel me and surround me with Your faithful love. As I remain pure before You and keep my mind focused on You, help me to reject the devils words and trust completely in Your’s. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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