Sunday, September 13, 2009

When Our Enemies Realized That We Knew Their Scheme...

"In the ancient world, a city without walls was helpless before its enemies. For Jerusalem once more to have its walls complete was evidence of divine favor and meant that the inhabitants could carry on life with a measure of security."

Nehemiah 1:3-11 3 They said to me, "The survivors in the province, who returned from the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem's wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned down."

Nehemiah's Prayer 4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 I said,
LORD God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands, 6 let Your eyes be open and Your ears be attentive to hear Your servant's prayer that I now pray to You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father's house have sinned. 7 We have acted corruptly toward You and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances You gave Your servant Moses. 8 Please remember what You commanded Your servant Moses: "[If] you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples. 9 But if you return to Me and carefully observe My commands, even though your exiles were banished to the ends of the earth, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have My name dwell." 10 They are Your servants and Your people. You redeemed [them] by Your great power and strong hand. 11 Please, Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to that of Your servants who delight to revere Your name. Give Your servant success today, and have compassion on him in the presence of this man. [At the time,] I was the king's cup bearer.

Morgan and her friend were at our house playing on Friday and I had a few minutes to sit and ponder some in Nehemiah. Nehemiah is said to be a continuation of Ezra. Well, I really tried to get into Nehemiah's emotion here over Jerusalem. As most of you know Gods people were exiled due to their own rebellion against God. Rebellion always leads to exile or isolation and broken down walls. I truly believe that rebellion breaks down the walls of protection that are meant to guard our hearts and minds and we give the enemy a foothold into the territory that only God needs to have access to. When we compromise a little here and a little there we wave a red flag to the enemy and invite him over the allotted boundary lines that the Lord has set for our safety. So as the exiles (or the remnant that returns) return to Jerusalem they find that they are in great trouble or disgrace. "Jerusalem's wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned down." (Neh. 1:3) This is is a BIG DEAL. To us looking on it is harder to understand. We tend to put so much security in our military strength or reputation as a whole in the United States as being a dominant world power. Yet we see a decline in morality all around us. A decline within leads to a decline without. We as a nation have broken down walls everywhere in a non-visible sense. So, as stated previously, walls represented a certain measure of divine favor. The fact that Jerusalem was broken down meant disgrace for God's chosen people.
Nehemiah was at time the kings cup bearer and placed in a position where he could take his lament and given the divine opportunity he could be used of God to do something about it.
The man was more than grieved over the walls being broken down. In fact it says that he went before the king and was sad and the king took note that he had never been that way in his presence and he posed the question to Nehemiah asking him why he was so sad when he was not sick. We too should still be moved over the brokenness of Gods people and lost souls as a whole. We should be moved over the injustices of our world and long for Gods people to be built up and not torn down. Also, we can not lose sight that God will right every wrong. Nothing gets by His watchful eye and you and I, in Christ, are the apple of His eye. His people. I often get discouraged. The enemy wants to discourage anyone or anything that is going on in the name of Christ. So, I LOVED reading these verses please don't miss this:
Neh 4:15-18
15 When our enemies realized that we knew their scheme and that God had frustrated it, every one of us returned to his own work on the wall. 16 From that day on, half of my men did the work while the other half held spears, shields, bows, and armor. The officers supported all the people of Judah, 17 who were rebuilding the wall. The laborers who carried the loads worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other. 18 Each of the builders had his sword strapped around his waist while he was building, and the trumpeter was beside me.
I am standing up to type now. Nehemiah is given the opportunity, the resources, the blessing, and the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Walls of protection instead of brokenness and shame. So of course the enemy comes against them to taunt and discourage them. You and I have got to stop being so surprised by the schemes of the enemy. We have to wise up and be on to him. He is going to go after whatever he can to try to thwart God's plans. Will we give up and lie in the dust completely discouraged or will we take our swords and fight the good fight back. They used their weapons (their swords) as they worked to rebuild. We figuratively have to use our sword to fight the enemy as we seek to rebuild and further Gods kingdom on earth. The sword of the Spirit being the word of God. We are powerless without the armor of God and especially our defensive weapon being the Word of God. We have got to know it, believe it, drink it and breathe it. One time I took Morgan to get her pictures made and I took her little pink bible to get her picture made with. She put that word in her mouth (some of you may pass out now) and the lady was telling her to move it. I said, "NO!! NO!!! I need that picture!!" Jeremiah 15:16 says "16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty."
Your words were found...and I did eat them!! I told her. We have got to have His word as the manna for our souls and a weapon to use against the enemy. He will twist the word as best as he cant and tempt us by asking all manner of questions while we are trying to live out our call on this earth. Did God really say...? Are you sure you are the one to be doing this after all you have done...? Surely, you are confused because you aren't really forgiven...
He will try any of his same old same old methods to discourage you. If you aren't on to him and if you aren't working and yielding your sword at the same time you and I will most likely cave under the discouragement.
So, I love when it says: 15 When our enemies realized that we knew their scheme and that God had frustrated it, every one of us returned to his own work on the wall.
He will come against you...and as he realizes that you are on to him that coward will have to tuck tail and run as God will frustrate his schemes by the power of His word! Greater is He in You than he who is in the world! GLORY!!!
I could go on and on but I have to head to church and teach. Love to you all!!

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michellemabell said...

Thank you for this beautiful post!
You have no idea what a blessing this is to read!


Little Steps Of Faith said...

Yep I am just sharing that I am reading this time;) But love ya and I will be back!

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

I can always count on you for a Word Jenny Hope...I love me some Nehemiah and I really LOVE YOU! :)


Warren Baldwin said...

I'll bet you are a good teacher. You taught very well in this lesson. We shouldn't be surprised by the enemies tactics. That is so true, then and now. A lot of good thought went into this post. Good job.