The Enemy's Playbook

All this week on the morning show, we've been considering the villains of the Bible - not your run-of-the-mill king or queen, (although Jezebel was discussed) but those who "led from behind" by scheming and using their influence in attempts to thwart the will of God. (Although I'm not certain that they saw it quite that way at the time!)

Today, we discussed Sanballat from the book of Nehemiah, and I was struck by the similarities between his tactics and those we all experience today.  In a nutshell, things escalated like this:
  • Nehemiah seeks the welfare of Israel - Sanballat gets angry (Neh. 2:10)
  • Nehemiah starts plans to rebuild the city walls - Sanballat jeers and discourages, and even suggests that Nehemiah is rebelling against the king (Neh. 2:19) 
  • Work begins on the wall - Sanballat is angry, jeers, and attempts to discourage the workers by pointing out how meaningless it all is, and that they have no hope of succeeding  (Neh. 4:1-3) (Gaslighting anyone?)
  • The wall is built and only the gates and doors are needed - Sanballat tries to harm or even to kill the leader of the effort, maligns his name, and lies about their motives.  That doesn't work, so they hire a guy who lies in an effort to scare them.  (Neh. 6)

Do you see these tactics?  anger. discouragement. attacks on their reputation. lies about their motives. threats on their lives. And with each step, Sanballat recruits more and more people to join in the attack.

If you've read the account, you know that Sanballat and his crew fail miserably and the wall and city is rebuilt.  But keep reading.  The attacks don't stop just because the the job is finished.  Nehemiah's enemy then tries to attack from the inside.

My point? Stay alert, friend.  Yes, Christian, we have peace with God. Yes, Christian, we have victory over sin and death.  But until Jesus returns there is still an enemy who will use every one of these tactics to discourage you from standing firm and doing the works that God prepared for you. (Eph 2:10) Be like Nehemiah and pray without ceasing. Take up the whole armor of God. Go to church so that you may urge one another to good deeds. And above all, trust God, for he is mighty to save!

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