Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Fullness of Deception

This morning I was reading Nehemiah 6 as a part of my daily Bible readings.  In my blogs, over the last few months, I have been sharing about new times, new vision and new connections.  We are witnessing new doors of opportunity that the Lord has opened before us.  We have been instructed on the threshing process which prepares the Lord's body for His work.  And what is that work?  We are to be His ambassadors of light, mercy, truth, love and goodness in a world that is floundering in darkness, hopelessness, fear and anger.

In Nehemiah, we witness this same scenario of darkness as the walls of Jerusalem were in shambles, and the people were fearful and vulnerable.  Nehemiah was sent by God to oversee the building of new walls and gates.  The enemies were persistent in their attempts to halt his work.  I wrote about some of these attempts in Chapter 13 of my book, Keeper of the Keys.
The Fullness of Deception
At the beginning of Nehemiah 6 we once again we hear about Sanballat and Tobiah—the persistence of our enemy.

Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm. (Nehemiah 6:1, 2)
Come—let us meet together.  The greatest scheme of the enemy is compromise.  Let’s talk about this—there must be something we can do to work out our differences. It’s sounds good—but in God’s realm there is no compromising with the enemy. NOTE: I’m not talking here about two friends, spouses, co-workers or such that are working out differences of opinion.  We are talking about compromising the kingdom.

So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. (Nehemiah 6:3,4)
Nehemiah won’t compromise.  He won’t waste his time on talking with the enemy.  We live in a world defined by political correctness, compromise and tolerance. As I stated earlier, these words are not always bad when we are trying to work wounded relationships.  But as we deal with the enemy of our souls – these are deadly.  The enemy is persistent.  The enemy wants nothing more than to kill, steal and destroy. You don’t compromise with evil.  You don’t arrange deals or trades with the enemy or any of his tactics. 
I remember a weekend I was serving on a weekend prayer team.  As the pastor on the team I was there to give them spiritual direction.  We were praying for a group of people going through an intense spiritual weekend of their own.  At one point we were praying for one of the leaders speaking at the other retreat.  He was very sick.  We were praying for his healing when one of my team members declared.  This person can not be sick.  If anyone needs to be sick – let it be me.  I will take their sickness and I give them my health.  To say the least I jumped on that immediately.  We do not trade with the enemy. We make no deals with the enemy. 

Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. In it was written: “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, "There is a king in Judah!" Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together. (Nehemiah 6:6, 7)
Sanballat cried out, “It is reported—you are intolerant, you are hard headed, you are a fundamentalist, you are a rebel.  You are going to be reported.” Isn’t it intriguing that in the midst of deception the enemy is going to serve notice to the king.  This king is the one who trusted and sent Nehemiah.  The goal is not truth—but defeat.

Then I sent to him, saying, "No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart." For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done." Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. (Nehemiah 6:8, 9)
Nehemiah perceived the problem and once again went to God. We now reach the final ploy.

Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you." And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!" Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me. My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid. (Nehemiah 6:10-14).
Let’s go to the temple and close the doors—secrecy and deception. Nehemiah because of a close intimate and communing relationship with God perceived the deception.  He once again turned his enemies over to God.*

The greatest testimony of this story is recorded in Nehemiah 6:16: "And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God."  This is our heritage as well.  Keep up the work.  Press on!  Build those walls of righteousness, hope, love, faith, mercy and goodness that protects all of us under the mighty hand of our loving God.

*Used by permission from publisher and author.
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