“Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.” (Nehemiah 6:14 ESV)
Since the days in the Garden of Eden, Satan has shown himself to be a cunning, crafty, conniving enemy, bent on deceiving and destroying God’s people. He has not stopped – we see his activity throughout the Old and New Testaments and we are called to recognize it today. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee.” Paul talks about not wanting to be “outwitted by Satan” by being “ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). And Peter warns, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Our studies in Ezra and Nehemiah have illustrated this point vividly. Chapter after chapter, we find the enemies of the people of God trying to thwart the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. Our text this Sunday, Nehemiah 6, is no different. Once again, the Enemy shows up immediately after a victory. The wall has been built, the breaches have been fixed, the work was a success, and it was almost completed. Before the final touches of the gates were installed, Sanballat, Tobiah, and Gesham show up again, hoping to stop any further progress.
Remember, we are admonished to be aware of Satan’s devices. In this narrative we find at least three specific tactics of the Enemy: distraction, distortion, and deception. Nehemiah proves his leadership capability by recognizing these tactics and then resisting the Enemy. One by one, these darts are fired but they miss their target.
We may not find ourselves building literal walls, but like the people of Nehemiah’s day we ought to be engaged in work of the Kingdom of God. As we work, we should anticipate opposition. Let us not only be mindful that opposition is coming, but be vigilant and wise, understanding the tactics of the Enemy that we may overcome in the power of the Spirit of God. The Enemy will still distract. He will still distort. And he will still deceive. But, praise God, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4)