If you venture out to the store or listen to the news at all it opens up a wide array of opportunities to become depressed, discouraged, and just feel like giving up. With Cancel Culture and the full-blown assault on Biblical values, it is enough to cause one to become discouraged and adopt a defeatist mindset.
It is really nothing new. It is the same tactics that have been deployed for ages. The methods have changed since we live in a modern, digital world, but the enemy’s end goal is the same– your discouragement and destruction.
Covid -19 and all that surrounds it is meant to do just that. Many are using it as an opportunity to silence voices that oppose them and their agendas. Likewise, the people of God haven’t helped their cause due to their silence and lack of action in large numbers. Also, the lack of unity in the Church has allowed the voices of intimidation to flourish. We all know we live in perilous times, but we also know that the people of God cannot quit and will not be silenced.
Enter Sanballat The Intimidator
It doesn’t take a prophet or rocket scientist to see that the voices of intimidation are sounding off in every sphere of society. Government mandates, social media manipulation, and broken supply chains are just some of the many areas our minds are being bombarded with. Everybody has their opinion and interpretation of the latest Covid recommendations and that is part of the plan of the enemy to further divide the people.
When Nehemiah was given permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall surrounding the area we now call the ‘Old City’, he and his team were met with a daunting opposition in the persons of Sanballat and Tobiah.
If you are attempting anything for the Kingdom of God, then you will undoubtedly face opposition. Just following Jesus alone is enough to elicit an attack of discouragement and demoralization against you. However, many of us have stepped in mighty ways only to meet intimidating voices telling us we missed God or it’s a waste of time.
The story of Sanballat is found in the Book of Nehemiah. It is a back and forth event where Sanballat taunts Nehemiah and the wall builders. Each time the attacks get more and more intense with threats to their physical well-being as well as reporting misinformation to the authorities back in Persia. Does any of this sound familiar? Each time Nehemiah responds with a prayer or a word deterring their efforts.
Nehemiah 2:18-19 “Then I told them that the hand of my God had been good to me, and also the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ So they strengthened their hands for the good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite subordinate and Geshem the Arabian heard it, they laughed us to scorn and despised us and said, ‘What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king? MEV
In verse twenty Nehemiah explains that the God of heaven sent them, even though the king had provided permission. He also explains that Sanballat and his minions have no portion, right, or memorial in Jerusalem.
In chapter four, Sanballat becomes furious and mocks the workers, discouraging them to the point that they are demoralized. They overcome that only to find new threats and lies being circulated in chapter six. They are telling rumors that Nehemiah and his workers are planning to rebel. Nehemiah also encounters a false prophet named Shemaiah in chapter 6, verse 10.
Overcoming The Intimidation And Lies
Even though Nehemiah had permission to be there, he was surrounded by those working against their efforts to restore and rebuild the eternal city of Jerusalem. Yet, he was not deterred. Legally he was granted permission to do his work. But greater than any earthly king’s permission, he recognized that he served the God of heaven, and all was being orchestrated by his hand.
Nehemiah 6:16 And when all of our enemies heard of it, all the nations around were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. MEV
Nehemiah 8:10 Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. MEV
Despite everything that the enemy threw at Nehemiah, he stayed focused and completed the task joyfully. As we grow closer to the return of Jesus, the Spirit that was at work in Sanballat and Tobiah is working harder than ever. He uses lies, false prophecy, witchcraft, and manipulation to discourage us or at least pull us down from the wall.
In my recent Covid battle, there was a strong spirit of depression, fatigue and I just felt like quitting. Some might call it Jezebel, but whatever you call it, I felt lonely, discouraged, and I said, ‘what is the point?’I was hospitalized for twelve days, sent home on oxygen with no income, medical bills, and unable to write or do anything.
But like Nehemiah, I found confidence in the Words of Jesus. I was reminded of His promises to my family and me, and the battle is His. Even as I write, the Sanballat voice is speaking doubt and discouragement. But, I have learned to focus on God’s voice and His promises. He has never failed us. When things do not go as expected, we usually expect it to go a certain way.
Our job is to just put our hands to the trowel like Nehemiah. We need a sword in one hand to repel the enemy’s attacks. If Nehemiah had listened to Sanballat and Tobiah, perhaps rebuilding the wall would have been delayed years or even a century or two.
Regardless of what the enemy throws our way, God will still get His work done. The question is will you obey His Word, or will you climb down from the wall and throw ‘in the towel’?
We don’t pray imprecatory prayers like the Psalmist wrote because we are under the Cross. However, we pray for the Holy Spirit to convict and our enemies to come to salvation. People are not the enemy but can be used. God has set each of us on a path, and the enemy has a goal to intimidate us to the point we get discouraged and quit.
Quitting is not an option in the kingdom of God!
Luke 9:62 MEV ‘No One who puts his hand to the plow and looks back at things is fit for the kingdom of God.’