"THE LEADER ON GUARD."
Intro. Those who had returned from the Babylonian captivity were being harassed by their enemies because they had no defenses. The walls were broken down and the gates were burnt. Nehemiah had come commissioned by the king of Persia to lead them in developing their defenses. As the building of the wall began, the first response of the enemy was that of ridicule. They said that the wall was so feeble that a fox could knock it over. But as the wall began to take shape they changed their tune and planned direct assaults against those who were building the wall. This is where we read that Nehemiah said he countered this action by:
I. WE MADE OUR PRAYER UNTO GOD AND SET A WATCH AGAINST THEM DAY AND NIGHT.
A. We are in a real battle against the enemy and one of the tactics he often uses is discouragement.
1. He causes us to see the great pile of rubble and feel that the task is too great, it can never be accomplished.
2. How many of you have ever felt discouraged in the ministry?
a. Discouragement comes when we get our eyes off of God and on the pile of rubble.
b. Discouragement comes when we measure the task according to our ability to handle it.
c. Discouragement comes when we leave God out of the equation.
d. Have you ever noticed that the more you concentrate on your problem, the more it grows?
e. It is always a mistake to look at the problem from our perspective, it is easy to say, "It can't be done."
f. We need to look at it from the divine perspective, "No problem."
g. God said to Jeremiah, "Behold I am God, is there anything too hard for Me?"
B. Another weapon of the enemy is mockery.
1. There are so many who have deserted the ranks because someone made fun of their faith.
a. The enemy has used this tactic from the Garden of Eden. "Hath God said?" "You surely will not die."
2. When these fail, he tries a direct assault against us. Verse 8; they all conspired against them to come and fight against Jerusalem.
C. Note how Nehemiah responded.
1. First he offered his prayer to God.
a. This should always be our first response, prayer. You can do no more than pray; after you have prayed, but you can do no true work for God until you have prayed.
b. But then as someone has said, "He put feet on his prayers," it is important to take practical steps. "We set a watch day and night."
II. AS A LEADER YOU MUST BE ON CONSTANT GUARD AGAINST THE ENEMY.
A. Note in verse 11 the enemy was plotting subtle attacks against them. They were going to sneak into the midst of them and then strike.
1. There are so many ways by which the enemy comes against us.
2. In the early church, the frontal attack of the enemy only caused the church to flourish, so the enemy changed his tactics, and became involved in the church, and ultimately gained the control over the church. The church became corrupted when it joined with the state to rule over the people.
3. God never intended for us to rule over the people, and hold them in fear and bondage. Jesus said to His disciples, "The Gentiles love to exercise lordship, but it shall not be so among you."
B. We must be on constant guard.
C. We should take note that it was when the wall began to come together that the enemy really got serious in his endeavor to stop the work.
1. I heard of this fellow who was always testifying of how when he was going down the road, he met the devil and how the devil would attack him. This seemed to be his testimony every week. Finally some guy got tired of hearing how he met the devil as he was going down the road; and he called out, "I have been going down the road for 10 years, and I haven't met the devil yet." To which the man answered, "Maybe you are going in the same direction."
2. When the enemy is leaving me alone, I usually take inventory. I must not be much worthwhile for the Lord, the enemy doesn't seem to be disturbed.
a. There are some promises that I am not too keen on.
1. And they that live Godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.
b. If you haven't had any encounters with Satan recently, you might check things out, you might be going in the same direction.
D. Notice in verse 13 that when they were warned of a pending attack, that they made preparation to defend themselves.
1. As leaders we must prepare the people for the attacks of the enemy.
2. We are told that Satan goes about as a roaring lion to devour.
3. Sometimes he goes around as an angel of light to deceive.
4. Look through the scriptures, how many warnings there are of false prophets.
5. What is the best defense against the lies of Satan? The truth.
a. We received three counterfeit 20-dollar bills in the offering two weeks ago. From the looks of the bills, you could not tell that they were phony.
b. But you could tell by the feel of them. They just did not feel right. The men who were counting the money, the moment they touched them felt that something was different, then they noticed that two of them had the same serial number.
c. They had handled so many of the genuine bills that the moment they touched the counterfeit they recognized it as such.
d. Because of all of the red tape you have to go through if you turn them in, I just put them in the shredder.
e. We were told that if we saw a spotted owl, it is best not to report it to anybody. He said if you report it, there are 500 pages of documents to fill out, and it costs the government $90,000 to process the full report.
E. As they were waiting for the attack in verse 14, Nehemiah encouraged the people saying, "Be not afraid of them." How could their fears be dispelled?
1. Remember the Lord.
2. Don't look at the power of the enemy, look at the power of the Lord.
3. Remember that the Lord is great and awesome. It is not us against them, it is them against God.
F. From then on, they kept constant vigilance and were on constant alert.
1. One working and the other standing guard.
2. A trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.
G. They devised the plan of blowing the trumpet if they were attacked and all would go to that place to battle, and he encouraged them saying "and the Lord shall fight for us."
1. Have you ever thought how blessed we are that the Lord will fight for us?
a. As Paul asked, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
b. As the leader, are you arming the people for the battle with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God?
c. Are you encouraging them to fight the good fight of faith, for the Lord is our defense, and He will fight for us.