2016-02: "Dis'ing" the "Dis"
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JOURNAL  JOTTINGS: Jan/Feb 2016

DIScerning When We’re Being DIS’ed”.

“When our enemies heard that we knew of their plans and that God had frustrated them, we all returned to our work on the wall. But from then on, only half my men worked while the other half stood guard with spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail… The labourers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side.” (Neh 4:15-18) 

whenthe rest of our enemies found out that I had finished rebuilding the wall and that no gaps re-mained Sanballat and Geshem sent a message asking me to meet them at one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But I realised they were plotting to harm me, so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come.  Why should I stop working to come and meet with you? (Neh 6:1-3)


Ever been called to a meeting and felt that something just wasn’t right? Well that was Nehemiah’s experience in chapter six of the book named for him.
 

Nehemiah was a man with a vision from God, on a mission for God, his eyes focussed on his Master. Nehemiah had quite the experience through chapter 1 to chapter 5, and God was all over it. Then in the sixth chapter two fellows called him to a meeting. These guys held position and status in the community, such that would usually lead most people to think nothing of heeding their request/veiled demand. However, Nehemiah knew Sanballat and Tobiah were out to get him.

Now this wasn’t a classic case of paranoia at all. No, as a man of God, Nehemiah discernedwhat was going on and stuck to his mission. His only reply was: I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?”


Notice, he didn’t ‘come down’ to their level. He didn’t succumb to fear. Fear of intimidation, fear of being misunderstood, fear of reprimand, fear for his life. With eyes on his Master, his mind on the vision, he stayed where God placed him and stuck to the mission he’d been given. So Sandy and Toby upped the ante.

They repeated the command/request four times. Four times! But on the fifth occasion, they sent two things - a letter and a rumour. Ahhh rumours! They can be powerful things if fed. And this rumour came with a threat, the kind that had the ring of a primary schoolers’ taunt: (em-ploy sing-song voice here) “We’re gonna do-o-ob. We’re gonna dob!”

Sanballat and Tobiah sought to discourage Nehemiah from the work. They were “trying to in-timidate [Nehemiah and his crew] into quitting” (6:9) with the aim that they’d never complete the work of God. Nehemiah, seemingly unperturbed and once again exercising God-given discernment, countered their threats with a simple: “There’s nothing to this rumour. You’ve made it up.” No arguing. No defending. I doubt he even came down off his ladder to say it. He then simply prayed: “Give me strength!” (6:9 MSG) A prayer I’m sure most of us have uttered at some point, but not, perhaps, with the same degree of faith. With his hammer in one hand and sword in the other, he kept at the mission with his eyes on the vision and his heart with the Saviour.

 

When we are about the Lord’s work, we too need this kind of focus and heart, and we need the Holy Spirit’s discernment to lead, guide, protect and inform us. We also should be alert to the fact that when we give ourselves to the Lord’s vision and mission, very often our spiritual enemy will employ tactics to “dis” us.

What work has the Lord called you to — today? this season? beyond? When the enemy sees that his initial ploys to pull you from them aren’t effective, be aware he may begin circulating nefarious messages of rumours, quoting the seemingly ubiquitous ‘they-sayers’. As in this account, sometimes the enemy will engage people of position, status or significance to us in a mission to DIStract, DISsuade, or DIScourage.

Often those rumours don’t come from external sources at all. Sometimes he plants thoughts in our own minds. We think people might be saying or thinking bad and untrue things about us, when they aren’t at all. We can, with the help of the Lord, respond like Nehemiah: seek the Lord’s heart, exercise discernment and taking strength from God, then answer those attacks and rumours with faith and obedience.

Nehemiah kept his eyes and ears on God, and his hands to the work — a hammer in one hand, and a sword in the other. I find the imagery and symbolism of Neh 4:14-18 very power-ful. On the natural level we must keep about our work with whatever tools of trade God has placed in our hand. Then, on a spiritual level having in hand the powerful Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, which will inform our work and protect us against attacks from the enemy. 

May the Lord help us discern when we’re being “dis’ed” and encourage and empower us to keep on in His work in us and through us in 2016.

Lord, give us strength!

 :::::::::::

For more on Belinda Tigell Ministries, including her books, album and blogs, vist belindatigellministries.com. Order BTM products from www.belindatigellministries.bigcartel.com

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