DISCERNING THE ENEMY (Part 4 of 4)

  1.  The Religious Bait

When direct attack by swords and indirect attack through solicitation and outright blackmail had all failed, the enemies resorted to begin to speak the religious language of their target.  They knew that Nehemiah trusted in God, so they hired prophets to prophesy lies to intimidate and discredit him (Nehemiah 6:10-19).  How desperate an enemy can get!  Their apparent ‘invitation to church’ was part of the same grand plan, but Nehemiah was very sensitive and sensible – two important qualities combined.  Since when did those enemies become his spiritual advisers and private prophets?  Since when did they begin to care so much for his spiritual welfare?  How come that those prophets had suddenly begun to speak the same language as the enemies he knew?  He was sensitive and sensible.

In the classic temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, when Satan could not get at Him in the wilderness, he changed the location of the next bout to the temple.  Satan decided to go to church with Jesus: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple” (Matthew 4:5). That’s not where to expect to find a proper devil, yes; but a desperate devil could follow you anywhere.

When Satan realized that Jesus quoted the Bible, he also began to speak the ‘scripture’ language of Jesus, saying, “For it is written…” (Matthew 4:10-11).  Not everyone that suddenly agrees to follow you to church is doing so for your sake.  It could be for their sake.  Not everyone who suddenly learns to speak your language loves you.  It could be a temptation – an enemy on the pinnacle of the temple. Be wise.  Poisons served through a Bible is no less poison than one served in a glass of beer.

  1.   Sensible and Sensitive

In his interactions with his enemies, Nehemiah was sensitive and sensible.  Sensitivity meant his spiritual alertness; sensibleness meant his ‘street wisdom,’ his common sense, his cautions arising from general experience.  Both were crucial.  Nehemiah did not get so religious or ‘spiritual’ as to be stupid, insisting that he was ‘too blessed’ to be touched by any devil. He was sensible. His common sense was not for nothing.   He also did not get so ‘reasonable’ and logical as to be spiritually blinded.  He was sensitive in his soul to the voice of the Spirit and to other signals from his God.  By spiritual discernment, Nehemiah overcame some of the snares of his enemies; by being sensible, he saw through other of the plots. He was alert in his soul as well as in his head as he dealt with his foes.

  1.  Sowers of Tares

Jesus gave a parable in which a farmer sowed wheats, expecting a happy harvest.  While no one was looking, in the night when decent men slept, someone went to the same farm and introduced weeds that looked so much like the crops sown.  In the course of time, the owner discovered what had been done, but it was too late to remedy the situation, and it was lamented: “An enemy hath done this” (Matthew 13:28). It could only have taken an enemy to enter when no one was looking, to work in darkness while normal humans took their rest, to thwart the happy expectations of a farmer, so that he would get weeds in the end instead of joyful wheats.

An enemy, therefore, is anyone who works to frustrate your future, your harvest.  All enemies do not attack you directly.  Some will aim at you by aiming at your critical infrastructure. In the story of Job, that holy man was the target, but what received the strikes were the businesses and family members of Job.  Job was being targeted with indirect missiles.

All enemies will not come out in the day. Some are active only at night.  You might never get to see the face of some of your enemies but will see the effects of their malicious works enough to know them for who they are.  I wish that that farmer had put somebody to watch at night while he slept, but he took his neighbourhood for granted, and regretted it.

All devils do not sport horns; all enemies are not in plain sight.  Some are loud and towering antagonists in the battlefield, like Goliath; others are soft and romantic queens in bedrooms and palaces, like Delilah.  Some will speak against you, others will appear to be speaking for you.  They all seek your vulnerability.  Sometimes they threaten you with swords, sometimes they pressure you with care.  The strategy might differ, but not the goal.  Your pain is their joy.  Their dream is that your happy harvest never comes; that they might prevail over you. Where daggers fail, they could resort to kisses.  Where poisoned arrows won’t work, they could try poisoned apples. Some will attack with swords, others with words, but you will know them all by their fruits.  They do not seek your progress.  Your gain pains them; your pain gladdens them.  They sometimes take advantage of your blind spots and introduce camouflaged dangerous tares when none is looking.

Like Nehemiah, may your eyes be open to discern and be properly advised to respond, however they come – whether with bloody poisoned arrows or with glistening poisoned apples.  If you cannot tell an enemy, you will dine with your killers and be seeking for culprits where you would never find them.  When your radar is confused to mistake enemy drones for friendly crafts, you could become a casualty.  May you be both sensitive and sensible in the conflicts of life.  Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary,

January 10, 2024.

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Rev. Can. Prof Akpodiete, O. J
Rev. Can. Prof Akpodiete, O. J
5 months ago

Very scholarly and inspirational. Thank God for the inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

Jessica Ezekiel-Hart
Jessica Ezekiel-Hart
5 months ago

Sensitivity and sensibleness, 2 qualities I must cultivate for the battles of life. O God help me

Chijioke Maduka
Chijioke Maduka
5 months ago

Thank God for this eye opener. I wonder how many brethren, that are destroyed, for lack of this knowledge. Many will be delivered from endless night vigils and from much prayers, trying to kill all their enemies, by knowing this. God help the church.

Duru Clifford Chuka
Duru Clifford Chuka
5 months ago

This series is without doubt an eyeopener. Lack of discernment makes one a soft target for the enemy. The subtlety of the enemy is multidimensional and remains his potent weapon. Every man is vulnerable, one way or the other and we cannot afford to sleep while the enemy prowls with tares to sow, looking for whom to devour. This is a clarion call for us to be both sensitive and sensible.

I have received awesome feedbacks from those I shared this series with. A politician informed me that he is reviewing the list of his ‘fairweather friends’ that came after his success at the polls. Many of those blessed by this series did not fail to pray for more grace for the Preacher and his ministry.

May the Lord continue to strengthen and empower the Preacher. The presentation of the Gospel in simple language that is easy to understand makes every piece by the preacher worth reading …..and worth sharing.

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Mary Kokoyo Edem
Mary Kokoyo Edem
5 months ago

I’ve been enlightened.
Thank you so much sir.
Great grace in JESUS mighty name.

Nene ONOH
Nene ONOH
5 months ago

Amen and amen. May I get sensitive to identify the

Nene ONOH
Nene ONOH
5 months ago
Reply to  Nene ONOH

May I get sensitive to identify the enemy

Kingsley
Kingsley
5 months ago
Reply to  Nene ONOH

Sensitivity and sensibleness, spirituality and mental senses, well balanced.
Satan comes to Church to speak “christianese”.

It is another refreshing diet.

From all these assaults of our common enemy,
Save us, good Lord, save us.

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