HOW SAINTS SHOULD LIVE
A SPIRIT OF MURMURING
A message I preached at Peerless Full Gospel on March 15, 2015
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministry of food distribution.
Something arose. What does this mean, “there arose”? When it says that something arose it means that something appeared, something begin to be, something came to pass, something happened, something came into existence that wasn’t present in the church before.
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ, which He died for and established, was going along so good â it was growing in number â but growing in number does not always mean that all is well. The believers were together, they had all things in common, they sold their possessions and goods and divided them among those who had need.
The church was continuing daily with one accord in the house of God, and they were praising God and having favor with all the people. The Lord was adding to the church daily those who were being saved. But something arose in this church among God’s people, among the believers.
As we see in this scriptural account, what arose didn’t fit in with what had been happening. Something new arose which the church had never dealt with before. That something new that arose was a murmuring. Yes, there was a neglect â but that, or anything else, is never an excuse for murmuring!
What is a murmuring? A murmuring is a complaint that becomes a grumbling, a grudging, an expression of discontent. The church that once was in one accord is now divided, and a division among God’s people is exactly what the devil wants.
When a division arises it must come from somewhere. This division was caused by a murmuring that arose among a certain group within the Lord’s church. Now some might want to justify a murmuring arising among that certain group, and truly we can always find an excuse for almost anything. That murmuring was not new, for we find it in the very beginning of the history of man, and even continuing up till the present time.
Let us now consider instances in the record of the scriptures concerning some that murmured.
Genesis 4:3-5 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect (accepted or showed approval) to Abel and to his offering: But to Cain and to his offering he had not respect(God did not accept or show approval). And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell (a physical form of murmuring or complaining).
6-7 And the LORD said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why is your countenance fallen (why are you showing signs of murmuring or complaining)? If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him.
8 And Cain talked with (or murmured or complained to) Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
A spirit of murmuring may speak to men, but it is ultimately aimed at God. It was not Able that refused to accept Cain and his sacrifice, but since it was not possible for Cain to attack God â he chose to attack the one that God had accepted.
A spirit of murmuring is a spirit of malcontent, a spirit that is unhappy with surrounding circumstances. Cain was more than malcontented or unhappy â he had progressed to a state of being very angry. Rather than listening to the counsel of the Lord and then repenting, he instead became defiant and slew his brother to get back at God.
A spirit of murmuring is a spirit that proclaims, “I wasn’t treated fairly. I didn’t get my fair share. I was mistreated by someone”. Cain was embarrassed and humiliated because he was not accepted, but Able was accepted â and therefore he considered himself to be treated unfairly and in fact to be mistreated.
A spirit of murmuring is a selfish spirit, a self-willed, self-centered, and self-seeking spirit. Cain was so selfish, self-willed, self-centered, and self-seeking that he was willing to kill his own brother in order to get revenge for being embarrassed and humiliated.
A spirit of murmuring is a spirit is a spirit of rebellion rather than a humble, submissive, broken and contrite spirit (which God does accept). Rather than repent, Cain chose to rebel against God.
A spirit of murmuring is a wounded spirit, a ‘done wrong unto’ spirit, a victim spirit. A spirit of murmuring is a bitter spirit, and Cain was so bitter that he killed his own brother.
A spirit of murmuring is an angry spirit, and given the opportunity it will become a murderous spirit. Cain’s angry murmuring spirit quickly turned into a murderous spirit.
THE CONGREGATION OF ISRAEL MURMURED
Numbers 14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
Again we see a spirit of murmuring arise among the people of God, and that spirit of murmuring can get very vocal. The people wept all night, demonstrating that they possessed a spirit of unhappiness, malcontent, a wounded spirit, a ‘done wrong unto’ spirit, a victim spirit, an unthankful, complaining, bitter, and lusting spirit, a spirit of rebellion rather than a humble, submissive, broken and contrite spirit of faith in God.
2-3 And all the children of Israel murmured (murmuring is contagious) against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said to them, If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! And why has the LORD brought us to this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
A spirit of murmuring is a spirit that accuses others (Moses and especially God) of wrong. Listen to their unbelief â “fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey“. That is not what God said â He said He would give them that land â not death by someone’s sword.
God had brought them out of Egypt after 400 years of bondage there. He delivered them with “a high hand” (Exodus 14:8), and He had allowed them to spoil the Egyptians. He had opened the Red Sea so that they could escape the Egyptian army, and then He drown that army so that they could not continue to pursue them.
After all those miracles and so many more â yet they would not have faith in God and obey Him. Anyone that you hear murmuring is a person of unbelief â because murmuring is a product of unbelief!
4 And they said one to another (as if the Lord didn’t hear them), Let us (not the Lord) make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
This is always the direction a spirit of murmuring goes to, it goes right out of the way and the will of God. This just shows us how grievous before the Lord is a spirit of murmuringâ and it never produces what the person had hoped for, but instead it always ends in grief. For these murmuring unbelievers, their choice of behavior will result in 40 years of grief while wandering in the wilderness, and finally death!
We are warned in 1 Corinthians 10:10 & 11, “Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.“
5-7 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua and Caleb, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spoke to all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
The other ten spies had brought up an evil report of the land â as if God would give them an evil land.
God gives good things to them that ask, believe, and obey Him (Matthew 7:11)!
8-9 If the LORD delights in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it to us; a land which flows with milk and honey. Only rebel not you against the LORD, neither fear you the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
The whole congregation demonstrates that rebellion is at the root of their murmuring spirit. Did they not understand they were rebelling against the voice and will of God? Know that when we begin to murmur it is a sure sign that we are rebelling against the will of God, and He does not delight in rebellion.
It is almost impossible to reason with those who have given themselves over to murmuring. A murmurer cannot see the truth of the situation, nor their own stupidity.
10 But all the congregation bade (commanded to )stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
A spirit of murmuring is an angry spirit, and given the opportunity it will become a murderous spirit. The congregation of the Lord allowed a murderous spirit to invade them by way of a murmuring spirit. From murmuring to murder.
Only because the glory of the Lord appeared did the anger of the congregation cool down.
Numbers 14:26-27 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
28-29 Say to them, As truly as I live, said the LORD, as you have spoken in my ears, so will I do to you: Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me.
They said that He could not keep them â that they would die in that wilderness â so what they said will come to pass for them. Be careful of your words, be careful not to murmur!
39 And Moses told these sayings to all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.
They mourned, but it was not godly sorrow that leads to repentance.
40 And they rose up early in the morning, and got their selves up into the top of the mountain, saying, See, we be here, and will go up to the place which the LORD has promised: for we have sinned.
They were not repentant. Just admitting that we have sinned is not alone an act of repentance. We cannot formulate our own plan of repentance, nor can we decide the outcome. Our only course of action must be to fall upon His mercy, receive His directives, and then obey His voice with thanksgiving.
Now they are willing to go where the Lord had told them to go, but now He told them no â therefore their rebellion lives on! But there comes a time when it is too late to repent â too late to attempt to go back and do what He told you to do â too late to receive what He had promised to you.
41-43 And Moses said, Why now do you transgress the commandment of the LORD? But it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that you be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword: because you are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
How foolish to attempt to do anything when the Lord is not among us or with us. They still didn’t believe that Moses hears from God. How can the Lord be with anyone that is turned away from Him? He is not going to follow us, or our plan. Doing our own thing, our will, our agenda will never prosper!
44-45 But they presumed to go up to the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelled in that hill, and smote them, and defeated (beat back) them, even to Hormah.
1 Kings 21:1-3 Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And after this Ahab said to Naboth, Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money. And Naboth said to Ahab, The (the Law of) LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you.
Naboth fears the Lord more than he does the king! He will obey the word of the Lord, whatever it costs him.
4 And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
Ahab demonstrates his spirit of murmuring, which was a spirit of lusting and of “I deserve that, but someone else has it”. He proves that a spirit of murmuring is a selfish spirit, a self-willed, self-centered, and self-seeking spirit.
5-7 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, Why is your spirit so sad, that you eat no bread? And he said to her, Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give you my vineyard. And Jezebel his wife said to him, Do you now govern the kingdom of Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be merry: I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
Ahab murmured to his wife the queen. A spirit of murmuring will often attract those who will facilitate the murmurer in getting what they desire, and isn’t that often the purpose of murmuring? Here again we see a murderous spirit attached to a murmuring spirit, for Jezebel plotted the death of Naboth in order to confiscate his vineyard.
2 Samuel 11:2 And it came to pass in an evening, that David arose from off his bed, and walked on the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look on.
As a child we sang a little song, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see, Oh be careful little ears what you hear”. It would be better to turn our eyes away than to be led down the broad way to destruction!
3-4 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, this is Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in to him, and he lay with her;
A murmuring spirit is directly tied to a spirit of lust, a spirit of “I deserve her, but someone else has her”. Be wary of words that say, “I have a right to do this because I did not receive what should have been mine”.
David’s murmuring spirit led to a murderous spirit and the spirit of robbery, for he had Bathsheba’s husband killed, and then he stole his wife.
2 Samuel 13:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.
Actually Amnon had a spirit of lust for Tamar.
2-3 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it difficult for him to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtle man.
Amnon’s vexation was a symptom of murmuring. If we desire something or someone that we should not have, the devil will make sure that someone comes along to help us in our sin! Ahab had his wife, and Amnon had his cousin. Both were subtle (cunning, crafty, insidious, skillful, clever) facilitators for helping others acquire what they were lusting after.
4 And he said to him, Why are you, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? Will you tell me? And Amnon said to him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.
It is interesting the different forms that murmuring takes on. Pouting is one of those forms.
5 And Jonadab said to him, Lay you down on your bed, and make yourself sick: and when your father comes to see you, say to him, I pray you, let my sister Tamar come, and give me food, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.
Verses 6 and 7 reveal how naÃ¯ve David is in allowing what is about to transpire, as are many indulgent parents.
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.
Tamar, like Joseph, walks right into the trap set for her, like a lamb to the slaughter.
11-13 And when she had brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, Come lie with me, my sister. And she answered him, No, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not do this folly. And I, where shall I cause my shame to go? And as for you, you shall be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.
This young man’s lust was so strong that he could not hear the warnings of righteous Tamar.
I had a dream years ago in which I saw a long line of people moving slowly forward in single file. I was permitted to see the end of that line of people, which came to a cliff at which point they were dropping off one at a time into the flames of hell. I began to go along that line of people pleading with them to get out of that line, but they all seemed like mesmerized zombies â they would not look at me, acknowledge me, or listen to me as they stared straight ahead and moved along in that line.
Then I began to feel a ‘spirit’ moving on me to join them in that line. I ran from that line shouting “I am resolved” as I ran into a room where the people of God were together in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
14 However, he would not listen to her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.
How many have been warned that they are moving toward destruction, but they will not hear! Potiphar’s wife tried to pull Joseph into bed with her, but she was not physically strong enough to overcome his resolve to please only God.
15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, Arise, be gone.
This is a strange phenomenon â what looked so sweet turns so bitter after partaking of it. How you hate what you did, and even hate the one you did it unto. You promise never to do it again! But hear this â in time that lust will arise again and overcome the bitter taste of that former sin as the flesh salivates for more gratification.
16 And she said to him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me. But he would not listen to her.
Amnon is good at not listening. But his sin did not produce what he thought it would, and now he doesn’t want her sticking around reminding him of this disappointing sordid affair. The devil never delivers what he promises!
17 Then he called his servant that ministered to him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
Now what was an attraction becomes trash to be thrown out.
2 Samuel 14:24 And David the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king’s face.
Absalom had murdered his brother Amnon for raping his sister Tamar. Part of Absalom’s punishment was that he was banned from seeing his father David.
25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
Absalom’s beauty served him well among the undiscerning public, which judges by the outward appearance and does not see as the Lord sees, for He looks upon the heart. I have seen many a church elect a new pastor according to the outward appearance â including such ‘advantages’ as education, political correctness, and past successes.
15:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared for himself chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
We see the same self-asserting today even among ministers and other ‘professionals’ including modern politicians (who must have learned this from Absalom).
2-3 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called to him, and said, Of what city are you? And he said, Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said to him, See, your matters are good and right; but there is no man designated of the king to hear you.
Just telling gullible people what they want to hear will take you a long way! It may even fill up your empty pews on Sunday morning.
4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which has any suit or cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!
Absalom murmurs to the people how that he is not being utilized according to his full ability, that his ability is not being recognized by the king. A spirit of murmuring is a spirit that accuses others of wrong, saying here that the king is being insensitive to the common people.
5 And it was so, that when any man came near to him he bowed down to him, put forth his hand, took him, and kissed him.
This man is a master politician, and many a politician in the church has learned from him.
6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
A murmuring spirit may progress into a thieving and murderous spirit, and Absalom’s agenda became killing his father and stealing the kingdom from him.
Mark 14:3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
What a beautiful and unselfish act of worship! David said, “neither will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God of that which does cost me nothing“, 2 Samuel 24:24.
4-6 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble you her? She has worked a good work on me.
They were murmuring over this woman’s extravagant worship of the Lord. On the Day of Pentecost, unbelieving religious people murmured over the extravagant worship of those who were just baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Prejudice and self-righteousness also is expressed through murmuring:
Luke 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against Jesus’ disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man (Jesus) receives sinners, and eats with them.
Luke 19:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That Jesus was gone to be guest with a man (Zacchaeus) that is a sinner.
A murmuring spirit is expressed through those who view themselves as being on the same level as their leaders.
Numbers 12:2 And they (Miriam and Aaron) said, Has the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? has he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.
Yes the Lord heard it, and he answered, “Why were you not afraid to speak against my servant”? Then in anger the Lord struck Miriam with leprosy
John 6:41-43 The Jews then murmured at Jesus, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he said, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said to them, Murmur not among yourselves.
Spiritually blind people become offended by the truth, and will murmur at the one who speaks it.
John 6:60-61 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said to them, Does this offend you?
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
An offended murmuring spirit will cause division and a parting of the ways. Many will miss out on salvation and heaven because they murmured against the word of God, saying that it is too hard.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love for God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
OPPOSITION OF ADVERSARIES
A message I preached at Peerless Full Gospel September 14, 2014
If we are doing the work of God, shouldn’t we expect to be free from the opposition of adversaries? If we are a child of God, shouldn’t He keep us from any and all of the opposition of adversaries? That is the same old argument that if there is a God, then why wars, why do good people die, why do bad things happen to good people, etc. The answer is that God has given to man a free will, and allows man to choose to do good or to do evil.
But doesn’t the word of God promise immunity from the opposition of adversaries to those that belong to Him?
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, says the LORD.
We must discover what the scripture really says, not what we want it to say. This scripture does not say that no weapon shall be formed against us, but rather it says that those weapons shall not prosper. In fact, all of the scripture warns us to expect many weapons to be formed against us:
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Our response must be that in the face of all opposition of adversaries we continue to stand in faith by the name of Jesus â believing that none of those weapons against us shall prosper!
This scripture does say that tongues shall rise against us in judgment, either in an actual court of law, or because the adversaries attempt to make it appear that their accusations are as strong as a judgment decided in a court of law.
And every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn
Of all the things that the adversaries could form against us, it is the ‘tongue’ that is mentioned; because no other ‘weapon’ is so effective and deadly.
James 3:6 & 8 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hellâ¦it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
The scripture says that we â not God or someone else â shall condemn every tongue that rises against us in judgment. How shall we condemn every tongue that rises against us in judgment on account of Christ? We will not overcome those tongues by fighting against them or defending ourselves, but “by the word (record) of our testimony“ (Revelation 12:11), which means by our continual righteous living, for such living must be our ‘testimony’.
Just as when the moon goes behind a cloud, but by continuing to move forward, in time she moves out from behind the clouds and recovers her splendor, so shall we recover when we are slandered â if we just keep on moving forward doing the will of God. And just as the earth lies under the darkness of night â yet as the morning sun arises and all the darkness is driven away, so shall God clear up our innocence by His great light of righteousness abiding within us.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, says the LORD.
Others that are not the servants of the Lord may bribe, lie, and fight to attempt to clear themselves, but the servants of the Lord have a heritage to fall back on, and that is the light of the righteousness of Christ working in us.
So we see that the Lord will deliver us not only from the weapons of the opposition of the adversaries, but also from the strife of their tongues, with all their threatenings, boastings, reproaches, and from all their claims and pretences which they have made against us. So the opposition of the adversaries shall not prevail against us by violence, or by their pretences of justice.
There are many examples of men and women of God coming under opposition by the adversaries of Christ. We must remember that their attacks are not personal (though they attempt to make it personal), but their opposition is really against Christ, or on account of Christ in us.
Nehemiah is one of those examples, for because he set about to do the work of the Lord rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he was greatly opposed by the adversaries of Christ.
NEHEMIAH ENCOUNTERS THE OPPOSITION OF ADVERSARIES
Nehemiah 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was came a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good on me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken to me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.
19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that you do? Will you rebel against the king?
Do you believe that the work that the Lord has set before you to accomplish is a good work? If we do indeed believe this, then know also that just as God’s hand is good upon us â so the hand of the opposition of the adversaries will be evil against us all the way!
Nehemiah 4:1-2 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we built the wall, he became furious and very angry, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish – even stones that are burned?
3 Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Yes, what they are building – if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!
7-8 But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry; and they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.
We must not be surprised when the adversaries of the work of the Lord mock us and fight against us and the good work of the Lord, and they attempt to cause confusion among us!
Nehemiah 6:1-2 Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had built the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors on the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they intended to do me mischief.
3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you?
Not only is the work of the Lord assigned to us a good work, but it is also a great work! For the most part, the opposition of the adversaries is no more than attempts to distract us so as to cause the work to cease, or at least slow down, while we waste time responding to them. And if you quit or lose heart, then you actions will affect others â and that is exactly what the adversaries intend.
Why not let God respond to them, for it is His work â not ours. However they might package their opposition, let us remember that His work is always in all ways too great a work to leave and let cease so that we can defend ourselves or the work that we are doing!
4 Yet they sent to me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
Yes the adversaries are persistent, but let us be more persistent and determined than they are, for their work is evil and perishing, but the work we do is good, great, and eternal.
9 For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
Fear is a natural reaction, and fear is not of itself a sin â but it is what we do with our fear that can become a sin. David said, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” Psalms 56:3-4.
The adversaries can do nothing to us unless we or the Lord allow them to do something. By “we allow them” I mean that if we cave in to fear, then we give them license to do whatsoever they desire, but as long as we stand in faith in the Lord, then the adversaries cannot do more than God allows.
Nehemiah 4:10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah, and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay you; yes, in the night will they come to slay you.
11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? And what man such as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.
Nehemiah answers as Joseph did when the adversary attempted to urge him to sin with her and thus cancel the promises of God upon his life, and thwart the plan of God to preserve the decedents of Abraham.
Psalms 105:17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it to good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Not just save the people of God, but often by our faithfulness and obedience “much people” that are not yet the people of God are saved (all those that were on the ship with Paul were saved when it was shipwrecked). Wherever the Lord has placed you â know that by your being there and allowing Christ to live His life through you day by day â you are a blessing to those around you.
Just think how much more miserable their lives would be if you weren’t there in Christ’s stead. Think of the peace and joy, the love and compassion, the restraint for righteousness, and the presence of the Lord that you inject into that home, work place, school room, church, hospital room, neighborhood, etc.
Just as Sanballat and Geshem repeatedly sent messengers to Nehemiah attempting to distract him from the work, so Potiphar’s wife was also persistent, for day by day she urged him to sin with her, but he answered her, “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”