“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.” (Nehemiah 6:13 NKJV).
In a swift response to the distressful news of the deplorable condition of the Jewish exiles who had returned to Jerusalem, Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to encourage and mobilize his people to rebuild the broken wall of Jerusalem and repair its burnt gates.
But, when their adversaries led by Sanballat and Tobiah saw that Nehemiah and his work force were making significant progress in the rebuilding of the broken wall of Jerusalem, they became very angry and employed several means to frustrate and stop them (Neh. 4:7-10).
The principal means, strategy, or weapon they employed against them was fear. They employed every means to frighten Nehemiah and his work force so that they could stop their progress and thwart their plan and purpose.
Sanballat and Tobiah first sent frightening news of their intention to invade Jerusalem ten times to Nehemiah (Neh. 4:12). When that strategy failed to put fear in the heart of Nehemiah, they employed some prophets to prophesy false and frightening prophecies to Nehemiah so as to manipulate and control him through fear (Neh. 6:10-14).
But Nehemiah and his work force confronted, quenched, subdued and overcame all the fiery darts and missiles of fear their adversaries fired at them and thus accomplished their goals in fifty-two days.
They surely have some great lessons to teach us on how to confront, subdue and overcome fear which is the devil’s chief weapon and means of paralyzing and stopping us from pursuing and fulfilling God’s purposes for our lives.
Let us learn from them!
First, Nehemiah recognized fear as a sin.
Nehemiah vehemently refused to flee to the temple to hide according to the counsel of the false prophet hired by Sanballat and Tobiah. Nehemiah insisted he would not “act that way and sin.” (Neh. 6:13 NKJV).
Any time you speak, pray or act in fear; you sin against God. Unfortunately, many prayers we offer in our churches today are motivated by fear of our enemies. Sadly, many believers and churches today are being controlled, dominated and influenced by fear of death, witches or demons.
Your victory over fear starts with you recognizing fear as a disobedience to God’s commad that you should not fear. God commands: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Isa. 43:1 NKJV).
Any of your actions that is not motivated by faith is a sin in God’s sight; “for whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23 NKJV).
A believer who is operating in fear is indirectly saying that God’s words and promises are untrue and unreliable, and that God is incapable of keeping His promises.
Second, Nehemiah’s spiritual perception or discernment enabled him to overcome fear.
Sanballat and Tobiah hired many prophets to pronounce frightening prophecies to Nehemiah so that he might be afraid and hide in the house of God.
One of those false prophets even counselled Nehemiah, saying, “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.” (Neh. 6:10 NKJV).
But through spiritual discernment, Nehemiah perceived that God did not send this prophet and so he refused to believe and obey his prophecy and counsel.
Nehemiah said, “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.” (Neh. 6:12 NKJV).
There are many false prophets in the world today who go about pronouncing frightening prophecies and terrible dreams and visions to people with a motive to manipulate, control, and defraud unwise and undiscerning people who are ignorant of God’s Word.
Unlike Nehemiah who refused to be frightened, controlled and manipulated by any false prophets and frightening prophecies to hide in the temple, there are many undiscerning believers today whose allegiance and devotion to a church or a prophet is borne out of fear. They are held down in their churches by frightening prophecies and manipulations of their pastors or prophets.
Whenever you subscribe to fear in any form, you are submitting yourself to the devil to manipulate, control, dominate, oppress, and hold you in bondage (Heb. 2:14-15). Therefore, don’t allow any prophet or pastor to frighten you to pray in strange and unscriptural ways, or to give special offerings and gifts to him, or to become his follower or a member of his church.
You need to pray for spiritual discernment and be versatile in God’s Word lest someone manipulates and defrauds you in the name of God through frightening prophecies, visions or dreams.
The Scripture warns, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 NKJV).
Third, Nehemiah and his work force were able to waste and defeat all the arsenals of fear their adversaries rolled out against them because they were watchful and prayerful.
They were also fully armed with weapons of war while rebuilding the broken walls of Jerusalem. When their adversaries heard about their alertness and preparedness, they gave up on attacking them (Neh. 4:9-15).
Beloved, it takes putting on the whole armour of God and being watchful in prayers to recognize, repel or quench every fiery dart or arrow of fear which the enemy may fire at you.
Therefore, be alert spiritually and allow no one to sow the seeds of fear in your mind through any medium. Watch what you incline your ears to hear and what you fix your eyes upon, and what you read.
Friend, are you today bombarded with arrows of fear on all sides like Nehemiah? Arise today, putting on the whole armour of God and standing firm in prayer on God’s Word.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Eph. 6:16 NKJV).
Learn more lessons from Nehemiah on how to confront and overcome fear in the next piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me the shield of faith to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Dear Holy Spirit, help and teach me daily to take the shield of faith to quench all the fiery darts of fear fired at me by the devil, in Jesus’ name. Amen.