An enemy among us..

Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!

As usual, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the post blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

 

We’re back with our Nehemiah series  where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval , the importance of gates , what do do when attacked,  when you are weary on the wall and getting back to work on the wall. WHEW!!! Let’s dig into chapter 5!

Scene: Nehemiah and his crew survived the attacks of Sanballat, Tobiah and their posse only to be confronted with another deadly enemy that worked right among them.

Nehemiah 5

v1)And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.

So the poor among the people and their wives came to Nehemiah because some “predatory lending” practices were taking place.

v2)For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live.

Situation 1: This is a BIG family—there are a LOT of us here. We have borrowed for corn to just to eat/survive.

v3)Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.

Situation 2: Others had to take out a mortgage to get corn to eat because of the famine.

v4)There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.

Situation 3: Still others borrowed again the king’s tax to eat!

v5)Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.”

Observation: Now this isn’t some outside force who came in—this was happening among like people! We’re all “family” here (related by blood and by being in captivity together as well), and family has brought our sons and daughters into bondage (or we sold them), because we need food. And NOW there is no way for us to get them out because we used out land as collateral–that’s been sold for food!  

v6)And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

So Nehemiah was was angry. Yes, we get angry. He didn’t go Hulk on them or start cursing them in the name of the Lord. He got angry and SINNED not and he didn’t let days, months and years go by while he stewed about it. The sun did not go down on his wrath (Ephesians 4:26).

On TOP of that, he listened. He heard. He empathized. He didn’t dismiss their problem, so the wall project could continue, he decided to deal with the matter straight on.

v7)Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.

Before the assembly, let’s talk about the confrontation.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, there is a time to keep silent and a time to speak. Nehemiah after thinking it over, he needed to openly rebuke the leaders who were extorting money from their brethren. Not just rebuke them, but tell them why that they were doing was wrong and how it hurt the people—financially, yes and more so the hearts of the people, as there were FAMILY.

There needed to be a confrontation. How do people typically deal with having to confront someone? Fight or flight. We either come out swinging, saying the wrong things, hurting someone’s feelings, feeling guilty, ashamed and regretful for the words and actions, OR.. We stuff it inside. We smile, so we’ll “be a good Christian”, take one for the team, keep peace. We shop, eat, silent treatment it, we talk about them in our minds and NOTHING gets resolved. 

Confrontation is scriptural–it does not have to be scary! It just has to be done the way God instructs you to do so. There is a template in Matthew 18:15-17 on how it should be done (1 on 1 then, before 2 or three, and then in front of the church), vs spouting off on social media or just not dealing with anyone at all.

Where we need to be prayerful is in our approach. Here are two examples:

Direct: Paul opposed Peter face to face in Galatians 2 starting at verse 11.  Peter stopped taking his meals with the Gentiles believers (in order to not “offend” the Jewish men) and others started following suit after Peter. Because this was creating division, Paul nipped this situation in the bud.

Story: 2 Samuel 12:1-7. David & Nathan. Nathan started off with a story about a rich man who had everything and a poor man who had one ewe lamb that he and his children loved. Rich man has a visitor, and rather than taking one of his own lambs to serve for dinner, he took the poor man’s lamb! David was livid, spouting harsh words and issuing punishment until Nathan told him—you are that man. (v 7)

Getting back to Nehemiah, this thing with the nobles and rulers was a public sin and was caustic to the work of the Lord. Nehemiah was a leader who was able to discern and work through issues, so it was apropos to get everyone together. We’ll plan to get more into an example of “public” confrontation and what happens at Nehemiah’s assembly next time we are together!

I know this was getting good to you, right?!  Please let us know your takeaways from this post in the comments section below. We’ll be waiting for you!

As a reminder, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and now YouTube! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes!

#ThatMomentWhen–you are attacked on your assignment!

Hey there BCU Family!

As usual, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

Let’s dig into Nehemiah chapter 4!

V1) But it came to pass, that when Sanballat [his name means enemy in secret] heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.

Now the work was going fine—everyone building as they should and here comes the enemy. Once again angry from just hearing that the work was being done. Notice how that spirit started off alone in mocking and teasing the Jews.

V2And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

Then Sanballat speaks in FRONT of his people and a Samaritan army—who knows HOW many people that was! That prideful, angry, distracting spirit needed an audience to help stop the work on the wall.  He goes on by name calling, belittling their efforts—like they could not do this alone, questioning their ability to sacrifice, would they be able to do it in a day? How could they get stones out of burnt material?

God had that covered when Nehemiah got all his supplies from the king/letters. See..the enemy does not know everything! Nor was it his business to know! He kept pulling out the fiery darts to stop the work of the Lord. We need to recognize the darts for what they are and rather than argue in the flesh about WHY we are called, we need to rest and continue working knowing WHO called us! And EVEN when things on the assignment really start to look impossible–remember OUR God specializes in the impossible! Ask me how I know!

V3Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.
In ancient times, the walls built around cities were tremendously thick and high–some in Babylon were reported to be 380 feet thick and over 100 feet high. Obviously an animal who averages 4- 31 pounds was NOT going to break the wall down. That comment was a distraction from the enemy. We have guard against being distracted! Those comments/tricks serve two purposes: to delay you from doing God’s work or to destroy you in the process of doing the work. And in either case, the end result is not what God has called us to.

v4Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:

v5And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.
What I LOVE about these verses is that Nehemiah and his folks never answered these people. No justification, no explaining, no running, no getting in feelings, no stopping the work, no hiding—they took it to the Lord! The mothers of the church used to sing “if I hold my peace and let the Lord fight my battles, victory, victory shall be mine!” It is not necessary in every case to get into someone’s face. Let the Lord do the work!

v6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. 

This scripture is just speaks to my heart and it where the BCU tagline comes from. In the midst of the attacks, they KEPT working. We keep ministering, we continue serving, being a blessing, preaching, ushering, whatever your job is. You may cry and get hurt—no doubt!! Give it to the Lord and keep working. You’ll be blessed for it.

v7But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,

v8And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

So now the walls were up and and the gaps were being closed, Sanballat and Tobiah — and now the Arabians, Ammonites, Ashdodites are heated!!!!!!!!! So they join forces to fight against and hinder the building process. The more determined you are to do what God says, the more you’ll be fought against. When we recognize these attacks as spiritual rather than personal, we know how to respond PROPERLY.

v9Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.

Verse 9 says they prayed and watched. Prayer will not always stop the enemy, but it will strengthen YOU! Are we watching?  Not in a creepy, fearful way–using the wisdom and discernment God gives us.  Does the enemy come through that co-worker or family member? Through an old, new, smoldering flame? How about creeping up on you with self-destructive behaviors like over-eating or nipping. Perhaps loneliness, fear, people talking about you effects you? Then you respond in angry outbursts, passive-aggressive behavior, slothfulness? The enemy may come in a different vehicle but the operating parts are usually the same. Different package—marked new and improved, but the contents are still the same! WATCH so you KNOW who the enemy is, how he is attacking so you pray and GUARD against it! Amen? Amen!

Well, BCU family we have to stop here, but there is PLENTY more to this challenge for Nehemiah coming up, so, please stay tuned for that! In the meantime, there are other podcasts for you to enjoy–you are welcome to peruse the BlenCouragesU.com site 24-7!  You can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and iTunes.

Before you go, please comment and tell us what stood out to you in this lesson and how will you apply it?We’d LOVE to hear from you!

In the meantime, thank you for stopping by and may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you! #StayOnTheWall!

 

 

Love,

 

BCU