Scripture Read: Nehemiah 5 - 6
Title: A Conspiracy Against Nehemiah
(H) Highlight verse: "Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, 'Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.' But they intended me harm. And I sent messages to them saying, "I am doing great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?'" Nehemiah 6:2, 3
(E) Explain: As the work on the wall was about complete Sanballat, Tobias and the enemies of Nehemiah became more and more enraged. They did not want to see the work completed and they certainly had it in for Nehemiah. They came up with a story to try and frighten Nehemiah in hopes to him look like he was trying to rebel and to become the king of the Jews. But Nehemiah saw through their made up story and did not meet with them. The enemies also hired a man to trick Nehemiah into believing his life was at stake and he implored him to take refuge in the Temple thus making him look like a weak leader. These were all diversion tactics to try and stop the work that God was doing through them people in Jerusalem.
(A) Application: Satan is a master at diversion tactics. God has called his people to do a great work for the Kingdom of God. God is at work today in this world and in our lives and Satan does not want to see this work come to completion. He knows that if he can cause us to take our eyes off of the goal of God and focus on fear, quarreling and worry that he can easily cause God's people to be thrown off track to fulfilling their calling.
Although C.S. Lewis's THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is a work of fiction there is a lot of truth interwoven throughout the story. In the story a Demon named Screwtape writes to his young novice demon nephew, Wormwood in correspondance to how he is doing in tempting an ordinary young man to walk away from God. Screwtape writes, "An important spiritual law is here involved. I have explained that you can weaken his prayers by diverting his attention from the Enemy Himself to his own state of mind about the Enemy. On the other hand fear becomes easier to master when the patients mind is diverted from the thing feared to the fear itself, considered as a present and undesirable state of his own mind; and when he regards the fear as his appointed cross he will inevitably think of it as a state of mind."(Pg. 26) What Lewis was getting at was that evil wins when our minds are diverted from God and we instead focus on our worries, fears, anger etc. because when we do we become more succeptible to sin. Philippians 4:7 says, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Let us remember this as we live our lives today for God's glory.
(R) Respond: Lord, may I keep my eyes on you and your call in my life. Do not let the distractions of life and the world divert me from fully following you every day.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
Preview or purchase Jeff's Books