BE DETERMINED – Powerful Revelation From Nehemiah

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”

“If you start building, you will soon be battling; so, be prepared!”

Under the Lord’s prompting, I am again studying Nehemiah. I want to share some powerful revelation from Warren Wiersbe that is timeless and always worth reviewing. Warren Wiersbe has a Bible commentary known as the “BE” series. Each book of the Bible is reviewed and his commentaries on each book are titled “BE _________”.  The book of Nehemiah is “BE DETERMINED”. Below is an excerpt that I’m certain will bless you.  All of Mr. Wiersbe’s commentaries are amazing. BE BLESSED! 🙂

From BE DETERMINED:

“When things are going well, get ready for trouble, because the enemy doesn’t want to see the work of the Lord make progress. As long as the people in Jerusalem were content with their sad lot, the enemy left them alone; but, when the Jews began to serve the Lord and bring glory to God’s name, the enemy became active.

Opposition is not only an evidence that God is blessing, but it is also an opportunity for us to grow. The difficulties that came to the work brought out the best in Nehemiah and his people. Satan wanted to use these problems as weapons to destroy the work, but God used them as tools to build His people. “God had one Son without sin,” said Charles Spurgeon, “but He never had a son without trial.”

When Sir James Thornhill was painting the inside of the cupola of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, at one point he finished an area and stepped back to view it. Had he gone back one step more, he would have fallen from the scaffolding and perhaps killed himself. Seeing the situation, a friend seized one of the brushes and rubbed paint over a part of the picture. The artist rushed forward to protect his work, and at the same time, his life was saved. When the picture of our life or ministry is not all we think it ought to be, perhaps the Master Artist is rescuing us from something far worse and preparing us for something far better.

Nehemiah Chapters 4 to 6 describe at least nine different tactics that the enemy used to try to stop the work on the walls.  First, they attacked the Jewish people with ridicule (4:1-6) and plots of war (vv. 7-9). This resulted in difficulties within the Jewish ranks: discouragement (v. 10), fear (vv. 11-23), and selfishness (5:1-19). When attacks on the people failed to stop the work, the enemy then started to attack their leader, Nehemiah. They tried compromise (6:1-4), slander (vv. 5-9), threats (vv. 10-14) and intrigue (vv. 17-19); but none of these devices worked either. Nehemiah was “steadfast and unmovable” and led his people to finish the work in fifty-two days! When the enemy fails in his attacks from the outside, he then begins to attack from within.

Referring to Satan, Paul wrote, “For we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11). This chapter presents four of Satan’s devices for opposing the Lord’s work, and it also tells us how God’s people can be steadfast and defeat the enemy.

Under Nehemiah’s gifted leadership, the people completed the rebuilding of the walls. Now all that remained to do was the restoration of the gates and the strengthening of the community within the walls. Since Sanballat and his friends had failed miserably in their attempts to stop the people from working, they decided to concentrate their attacks on Nehemiah. If they could eliminate him, or even discredit him, they could mobilize their allies living in Jerusalem (Neh. 6:17-18) and take over the city.

The average person doesn’t realize the tremendous pressures and testings that people experience day after day in places of leadership. Leaders are often blamed for things they didn’t do and criticized for things they tried to do. They are misquoted and misunderstood and rarely given the opportunity to set the record straight. If they act quickly, they are reckless; if they bide their time, they are cowardly or unconcerned. Referring to the pressures of leadership, President Harry Truman wrote in Mr. Citizen, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”

People in places of spiritual leadership not only have the pressures that all leaders face, but they must also battle an infernal enemy who is a master deceiver and a murderer. Satan comes either as a serpent who deceives or a lion who devours (2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Peter 5:8), and Christian leaders must be alert and spiritually equipped to oppose him. It behooves God’s people to pray earnestly, not only for those in civil authority (1 Tim. 2:1-3), but also for those in places of spiritual authority. If Satan can defeat a Christian leader, he can cripple a whole ministry and discredit the cause of Christ.

The enemy’s main purpose was to generate fear in the heart of Nehemiah and his workers (Neh. 6:9, 13-14, 19), knowing that fear destroys faith and paralyzes life. Adolph Hitler wrote, “Mental confusion, contradiction of feeling, indecisiveness, panic; these are our weapons.” Both Jesus (Luke 13:31-35) and Paul (Acts 21:10-14) had to face the specter of fear, and both overcame it by faith.

Nehemiah didn’t listen to the enemy’s lies. He and the people completed the wall and hung the gates in only fifty-two days, much to the chagrin of their adversaries (Neh. 6:15-16).

Satan used four strategies in attacking Nehemiah, strategies that he still uses against spiritual leaders today.

  1. Compromise: The enemy will offer to “help” (Neh 6:1-4)
  2. Slander / False Accusation: The enemy will try to discredit leader’s character (Neh 6:5-9)
  3. Conspiracy / Threats: Opposition & pressure from all around (Neh 6:10-14)
  4. Intrigue: Secret plotting even after it appears victory was attained (Neh 6:15-19)”

I pray you are blessed and encouraged by Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on this portion of Nehemiah and would consider reading it in it’s entirety!

BE DETERMINED!

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About Mary L'Esperance Held
http://www.maryloveslife.org

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