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 rebuilding 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 to stop their progress and thwart their plan and purpose.
First, Sanballat and Tobiah sent frightening news of their intention to invade Jerusalem ten times to Nehemiah (Neh. 4:12).
Second, Sanballat and Tobiah employed some prophets to prophesy false and frightening prophecies to Nehemiah so as to manipulate and control Nehemiah 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 command 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 promises or words are untrue and unreliable, and that God is incapable of keeping His promises or words.
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 then run to 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, obey, or submit to 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.
Many believers today 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 financial partner, follower, or a member of his church.
You need to pray for spiritual discernment and be versatile in God’s Word lest someone manipulate and defraud 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.
Nehemiah and his men were 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).
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.
“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).
Friend, are you today bombarded with arrows of fear on all sides like Nehemiah?
Arise today to confront and overcome your fear by taking the shield of faith.
Fourth, Nehemiah overcame fear and fulfilled his purpose in life by the fear of God.
Nehemiah was unmoved by the threat of his adversaries because he feared God (Neh. 5:15). The fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Prov. 8:13).
Nehemiah conducted himself in the fear of the Lord. He refused to walk in the path of unrighteousness, so no threat from his adversaries could erode his confidence and boldness in God.
Righteousness emboldens a man, but sin weakens and paralyzes a man with fear. A sinner is a lawful captive of fear; he is under a spell of fear and he has no rights to true peace and confidence.
Solomon states, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Prov. 28:1 NKJV).
You cannot be living in sin and still retain your confidence. Sin always erodes confidence. Sin will always put you to flight before your adversaries. Many believers today who are running from one prophet to another are not being chased by any demons, but rather by their sins which they refuse to repent of or renounce.
Fifth, Nehemiah overcame fear by his revelation knowledge of God and of his true identity in God.
When some people brought to Nehemiah the frightening news of the evil plans of his adversaries to him ten times, he said to the Jews with him, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Neh. 4:14 NKJV).
Even when a prophet told him to flee for his life, Nehemiah retorted, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” (Neh. 6:11 NKJV).
Apparently, Nehemiah was bold because he knew that his God was far greater than all his adversaries and that his God would protect him and his work force, for “the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Dan. 11:32 NKJV).
Instead of being afraid of their adversaries and their threats, Nehemiah and his workforce offered incessant prayers to God (Neh. 4:9).
Beloved, if your life is dominated and controlled by fear of death, fear of failure, fear of witches, fear of men, angels or demons, it is a clear indication that you do not really know Christ and who you are in Christ.
Your revelation knowledge of Christ and of your spiritual identity, exalted position, and great authority in Christ will embolden and strengthen you. Your spiritual strength and boldness is a function of your depth of revelation knowledge of Christ and who you are in Christ.
It is as you spend more time in deep and personal communion with God in prayer and in God’s Word that you will grow in the knowledge of God, increase in spiritual discernment, in spiritual understanding of your true identity in Christ, and in exercising boldly your spiritual authority in Christ over the spirit of fear.
Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ has set you free from the spirit of fear, so don’t remain in the bondage of fear. Like Nehemiah, don’t give in to fear!
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Therefore, arise today, taking hold of the shield of faith to quench every fiery dart of fear fired at you by the enemy to stifle your creativity, to conceal your potentials, to arrest your progress, to abort your dreams, and to discourage you from stepping out in faith to pursue and fulfil God’s purposes for your life.
The spirit of fear is not from God; reject it, bind and cast it out of your life today!
Paul testifies, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV).
The spirit of fear is the spirit of bondage. Don’t accommodate or tolerate it in your life!