Sanballats and Tobiahs
by Udeme Anosike
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But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews (Nehemiah 4:1).
Embark on any God-ordained task and be certain that the Sanballats and Tobiahs of our day will come mocking!
But who are the Sanballats and Tobiahs of our day? They are wicked spirits who do not want to see God’s purposes prosper. They are unlikely to attack you if you are doing stuff out of your own initiative—things that will not further God's purpose in your life or break the devil's hold over people. But once you align with the Holy Spirit to undertake any activity, the Sanballats and Tobiahs, knowing the power of the Spirit behind you, start squirming.
What do they do? They mock. They attack you with thoughts that demean your efforts. They show you people who are doing well and prod you to compare yourself to them. They suggest that your efforts will amount to nothing. Listen to what they told the Jews who returned from captivity to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem:
“What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” … “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” (Nehemiah 4:2-3).
Does this sound familiar? Have such disparaging thoughts (albeit applied to your own situation) crossed your mind?
So, how should we respond? How should we guard against being swayed by these thoughts? First of all, we must learn to recognize thoughts that are sown in our minds by wicked spirits and reject them. Such thoughts may sound logical, but so long as they do not reflect God's mind, we should consider them lies.
Second, we should run to God for cover. Nehemiah—the leader of the Jerusalem wall-rebuilding project—knew that Sanballat & Tobiah’s ridicule had the potential to discourage the builders, because what they said seemed to make sense. So, Nehemiah immediately sought the Lord's intervention. Psalm 31:20 assures us of the Lord’s protection at such times: “In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues."
Indeed, the Lord answered Nehemiah’s prayer. He blunted the edge of Sanballat and Tobiah's words; as a result, the men of Judah remained wholeheartedly committed to the work. The wall was built to half its height and ultimately—after more futile attacks—completed.
Third, we should not quit. We should seek God's grace and keep moving ahead regardless of how circumstances look. Sanballat and Tobiah's goal was to stop the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall, but God had purposed for the wall to be rebuilt. And as long as the Jews sided with and leaned on Him, the work progressed. Similarly, we should not give up. Sure, there will be enemy attacks along the way, but if we continue to align with God's plan and depend on Him for grace and deliverance, we will see our work completed and His purpose fulfilled.
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Nice article Udeme for God's children need to cope with the Sanballats and Tobiahs of daily life. Too many people lose heart too quickly and become discouraged in well doing not fully understanding the tricks of the enemy. When all else fails Satan resorts to ridicule and scorn. Keep up the good work my brother.