All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it.
One day the devil decided to have a garage sale and sell all his tools. He had them attractively displayed on card tables he had set up: envy, greed, malice, lust, bitterness. But over to the side lay a wedge-shaped tool that was more highly priced than any of the others. A customer saw that item, and he asked the devil, “What is this tool?” The devil smiled and said, “Oh, this is my favorite one–discouragement.” And the customer said, “Why is it more highly priced than the others?” The devil said, “Because with discouragement, I am able to pry into a person’s mind when I cannot get near him with any of my other tools. And once I get inside my victim’s mind, all the other tools are free to do their work.”
If you have a dream that God has given you for your marriage, for your business, for your family–whatever your dream is, Satan will use every tool he has to thwart that dream. Sometimes he uses negative people–that is, criticism–to keep us from pursuing our dream. Last week, we saw that when Nehemiah began the work of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, he immediately faced opposition from Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab. But there is another source of opposition we are going to look at this week. Sometimes opposition to our God-given dream comes not from without, but from within, from negative feelings. And the most potent of those negative feelings is discouragement. In Nehemiah 4, we are going to discover how to battle the blahs.
Do you remember what happened last time Nehemiah faced opposition? He kept on working. But many times opposition is just like temptation: do not think just because you have conquered it once, you have conquered it forever. It keeps coming and coming and coming. And that is what happened with Nehemiah. Look at verses 7-8: “Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it.” We have already met Sanballat, Tobiah, and the Arabs. But now a new enemy was conspiring against Nehemiah: the Ashdodites. They were the residents of the city of Philistia. Nehemiah was saying, “We had enemies coming against us from every direction–north, south, east, and west.” How did Nehemiah deal with those threats from every direction? Verse 9 says, “But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night.” Nehemiah successfully repelled the external threats, but now he has to deal with a threat that came not only from within the wall, but from within the hearts of the people themselves, and that was discouragement.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Battling The Blahs” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org