I’m looking forward to sharing with you today. Continuing our series on the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah chapter four. And I’m going to read verses one to 3. Nehemiah chapter four verses one to three. And it says this.
Nehemiah 4:1-3 NKJV But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, 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—stones that are burned?” Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.”
The title of my message today is called Under Attack. Let’s pray. Father, I thank you for your word. I ask and pray, Lord, that you help us to know your times and seasons, Lord God. Help us to be rebuilders of broken walls. I thank you and praise you for that, Lord. In Jesus name, amen.
We’ve been doing a series for the last couple of months on the book of Nehemiah. And Nehemiah is an awesome book it essentially tells a story about how Nehemiah who was the cup bearer to the king was raised up by God to see the walls of Jerusalem be rebuilt. They had been barren for over 150 years and they were rebuilt in 52 days. Which was absolutely incredible. And it’s an amazing story.
So far we’ve been looking different aspects of Nehemiah in the sessions that I’ve done. Basically I did a week on Nehemiah chapter one. And that’s essentially when the burden and calling came to Nehemiah to instigate the rebuilding of the walls. You know that it was a real kingdom calling because he was actually given a burden to help other people.
His life was actually pretty good. He had a fantastic career. He was well protected and yet he had a burden to see other people be blessed. That’s when you know that you have a desire that’s truly a kingdom one. It’s easy to get a passion about an issue that you’re suffering right now.
It’s even incredible when you get a passion and a burden for other people that are actually struggling. And so that’s basically what happened in Nehemiah chapter one. In Nehemiah chapter two we see that him actually get permission from the king to actually go and see the rebuilding of the walls.
And so he managed to get permission to do that. He also managed to get the resources to do that. And that was all Nehemiah chapter two. And then we see in Nehemiah chapter three where he actually begins rebuilding of the walls. Notice this in Nehemiah chapter three, almost everybody was used to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. That’s why it was done so quickly.
John Maxwell has a thing he called the Pareto principle which is basically where 20% of the people do 80% of the work. But that’s not what happened in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Everybody participated. Everybody got involved. And because of that they were able to do that mighty and quick work.
Here we are in Nehemiah chapter four and we see right now that there are people not happy about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. I would have thought that if you’re doing something that God wants you to do, everyone, everybody would be happy about it. But who knows, that’s not necessarily the case.
Have you ever had god put something on your heart to move forward, to see something in your life that was broken, to see it repaired, you would think that everybody would be supportive but who knows, that’s not necessarily the case. Only that there can be actually a spiritual attack against it. That they could be the enemy that is wanting to stop you from doing that. You can imagine that the devil is not going to be happy.
God’s people have had their walls that have been broken down for a over 150 years. He’s not just going to sit back and let it happen. Who knows that sometimes when you’re in the very will of God, spiritual attack arises. And that’s what happens here in Nehemiah chapter four.
So if you’ve got a situation in your life right now where you’ve got that, you’ve had a long time and you’re wanting to see it changed, you’re wanting to see it turned around, or God’s calling you to do something, to step out in a particular area, there is a high likelihood that you might experience some kind of spiritual attack.
Just like the people here experienced and so we can learn from this for our own lives and there are things that we can remember to help us to know what to do when dealing with spiritual attack. And so I want to talk to you today about six facets of this particular attack. Six about it that we can learn from whenever we’re about to advance, move forward, that things that we can do, things that we need to know when it comes to something like that.
1. Planning to Build
So, the first thing is this, the origins of the attack was that they were planning to build. Notice this, Nehemiah chapter four verse one.
Nehemiah 4:1-3 NKJV But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. He mocked them just for starting. Right at the very beginning, that’s when the attack started. If you look through scriptures so often and you might experience it in your own life, just when you start to step into the will of God, that’s when the enemy pops his head up just at the beginning.
They were mocked just for starting. I mean, they’re actually doing the will of God. You would have thought that everybody would be happy. Have you ever stepped out? You’re doing the will of God. You thought everybody’s going to be pumped about this?
That’s not necessarily the case and sometimes, opposition actually comes from some of the least expected areas. We look at the story of Joseph in Genesis. Bible says that Joseph received a dream and essentially he received two dreams and essentially the dream was the same that he was going to be a great leader.
So he made the mistake of telling his family. I would have thought that your family would be the most supportive of your dreams. But he tells his family and his brothers get so ticked off with him. You thought they’d be happy that they actually wanted to kill him. And he actually got sold into slavery as a result of telling other people his dream.
Just because what you’re about to do is from God does not that everybody’s going to be happy about it. Especially in the early stages. You’ll be amazed at how often you get mocked when you start sharing the things that you’re wanting to do. People that you think would be supportive is going to mock you.
When we were youth pastors in Mackay in North Queensland and we’re about to start this was many years ago. We’re about to start a Bible College in Brisbane. So I’m originally from Victoria. We were down in Melbourne for a month. Before we moved to Brisbane and I went out with some friends and I was talking to talking to them and one of the guys friend of mine.
He said to me, he goes, Ben, what are you planning on doing now? I said, I’m going to Brisbane to start a Bible College and I’m telling a friend and he looked at me and goes, oh, that’s right. I knew you were going to do something you were totally underqualified to do. Right at the beginning from who you least expected, that’s actually what happened and we turned around and actually went up, went pretty well and it’s still going today.
But who knows that right in the beginning, something might happen, that happens. Have you ever had that happen? Well, God’s given you a dream, you’ve shared it with someone and they’ve just trampled all over it. You know, don’t be upset if that happens. That’s why as believers we need to make sure that we are not dream thieves of other people.
That when someone else has a dream, if they share it, then we don’t need to try and bring reality into their situation or give them a reality check. Who knows that if it’s not God, they’ll get a reality check soon enough. You don’t actually have to do it.
One of the things I’ve learned, if someone shares a dream with me, there’s been times when I’ve looked at them and I thought to myself, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. But I’ve never said it because the off chance I could be wrong and one day.
I remember one time I didn’t share this at the 8:30am and this is going online. Hello to everyone online. Maybe won’t record this bit but I was actually in a connect group at a church I was in years ago and I was actually you know I was a campus pastor and I went and visited this connect group and they were sharing about things God was saying to them.
And at the time there was a really big drought. And one of the girls she said and she said she goes look God spoken to me that God’s given me a song that will end the drought. And when I sing it it’s going to stop. And everyone just look and the connect reader looked at me. She goes Pastor Ben. And I remember thinking that that’s just highly unlikely that’s not true.
But I didn’t want to trample anyone’s dream. And I said well let’s have it. Sing it. And she got she sang it in the connect group and that sort of thing and you know I thought it was a bit silly but we’re not just going to trample on somebody’s dreams and you know, five years later, my house did get flooded and praise the Lord. Maybe that’s what happened.
Anyway, but one of the things I’ve, let’s not be those people that go and always pop people’s bubbles. Let’s be the kind of community that people can share things and the reality, well, you know, I mean, some, if they’re wrong, then, they’ll find out. We don’t need to be the person to burst their bubble or anything like that because there might be a time when someone says something so outrageous.
Like, I’m going to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They’ve been barren for 150 years and do it in 52 days. Something that looks so ridiculous, so stupid, but they actually heard from God. When you’ve got something from God when God’s calling you to rebuild something, the origins of the attack is often even in the beginning when you’re planning.
2. Building Successfully
The second thing about this attack is the reason they were attacked is because they were building successfully. Nehemiah chapter four six to eight, it says,
Nehemiah 4:6-8 NKJV So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.
The reason they were attacked is that they’re actually winning. It’s one thing to be attacked at the thought. But then what happens is that when you actually start being you would have thought that they would be able to turn around to these people and say see I was right. We’re actually winning. We’re actually being successful.
But then they actually fired up and attacked them all. The reason they were is because they were actually being successful at what they were doing. A couple that I know she was actually in our youth group in Mackay and then she moved down to Melbourne and met a fantastic guy got married. Very young couple and they started an enterprise called Thank You Water.
You might you know you may have heard of thank you water. It was a social enterprise essentially where they would write they would sell water and then raise the funds to actually build wells and impoverished nations and that sort of thing. And a really I remember before they even started, they came and saw me and the guy, young guy named Daniel Flynn, he said, this is the scripture God has given me to start this thing.
It’s God and you look at it and you think, wow, this is unbelievable. This is almost crazy but they started and then they started being successful. And then all of a sudden, they started getting into certain stores and at that time, I don’t know not a hundred percent sure the names of the store so I won’t say them publicly but the stores also were getting supllied by Schweppes and Coca Cola.
Well, who knows that Schweppes and Coca-Cola? You would have thought they’d be happy that somebody is creating water and creating wells for people in other nations. But they weren’t happy and they started putting the squeeze on these stores trying to pressure them to actually not allow thank you water. They can’t be sold from their shelves. And they found that the attack ramped up.
Why did the attack ramp up? Because they were succeeding. The attack ramped up because they were actually doing well. And in hindsight, not even the might of Coca-Cola or Schweppes could stop it. And they managed to get in all places and get into supermarkets and they raise multiple millions of dollars to build these wells all around the world.
But who knows that just because you’re starting to succeed? That doesn’t mean that the haters will decrease. Just because you’re starting to succeed does not mean the attack will stop. Sometimes it actually ramps up. Because the reason they were being attacked was because they were actually building successfully.
3. Stop Them From Building
The third thing to learn from is this. The purpose of the attack was to stop them from building. That’s they were being attacked. Nehemiah chapter four verse eleven says this,
Nehemiah 4:11 NKJV And our adversaries said, “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.”
That’s the whole reason why they were getting attacked. To actually stop the building. So here’s the thing. The way you defeat this attack is by not stopping. If you quit, you lose. That’s the whole purpose for the attack. If they weren’t building, there would be no attack.
And so what happens is, you’re stepping out into something that God wants you to do. You’re changing this area of your life for the good. And then all of a sudden, an attack comes and you can sense this all attack is coming because I’m doing this. In the natural, you think to yourself, okay, well, if I stop that, then the attack will cease.
But here’s the thing, then you’ve just given in. And you’re doing exactly what the devil wants you to do and you stay broken down and you stay bound up because that’s the whole purpose for that attack. I was an itinerant minister for a number of years and just lived by faith basically and travelling around, preaching around Australia and that sort of thing and so financially, you know, in that, it’s really a faith ministry and really your finances can get very very tight.
I had this unusual occurrence happen about 2014-2015 something like that, where out of nowhere. Basically, I lost a whole lot of money for three main reasons. So, reason number one was because I was getting sick all the time. I was getting the flu constantly and I was just getting sick. So, you know, I would normally be able to preach through any sickness but it got so bad that I had to stop a number of engagements and you know, when you’re itinerant minister, if you don’t preach, you don’t eat.
So those were weeks without any income and then not only that, I had just unusually a whole bunch of churches cancel my preaching engage that were coming up like only three or four weeks out and then try to reschedule me for later in the year and they said oh look we can’t do that now. Can we do it later in the year? And I was thinking to myself well that’s great for later in the year but now we’re not eating for that week you know. And that sort of thing and so that was happening.
And then the other thing was too that when you’re living by faith a church would or a ministry would you know we didn’t have any arrangements or contracts or anything like that. You’re doing it by faith and so people would you know would give you a gift when you finish you know when you’ve ministered them but I just had a whole bunch actually give me nothing at that time and I lost a lot of money over a short period of time and finances were getting very very tight.
I thought to myself, well, maybe this is God telling me I gotta stop doing this and I prayed about it. I said, Lord, is this a sign from you? Now, I still wanted to stay on the road. I still felt called to do a few more years itinerant and I said, Lord, is this you telling me to stop? And it’s clear as anything. He said to me, we don’t let other people tell us when we stop. He said, we don’t let other people’s lack of integrity and a spiritual attack from the devil on your health decide whether you stop serving me.
He said, you and I decide when we stop and I thought, very true. So, I thought, I’m not just because some people have decided to not honour their commitment and just because the devil’s attacking my health, that is not a sign that the Lord is redirecting me. He and I will decide and so, I stayed on doing it for another few years and it helped me actually gave me bit of wisdom regarding handling of finances and that sort thing and so we stayed on for a few did it for a few more couple more years and then I really felt it was time to stop because I wanted to stop.
I learnt a very valuable lesson. And that was this. The whole purpose of the attack is to get you to stop. The whole purpose is to get you to stop building. Don’t be put off. You started out doing something God had called you to do. And things are flaring up. If you quit you lose. Keep on going. Because the purpose of the attack was to stop them from building.
4. From Many Angles
The fourth thing about the attack was this. The nature of the was from many angles. Nehemiah chapter four verse twelve.
Nehemiah 4:12 NKJV So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.”
They kept reiterating it. From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us. So, from whatever place you turn, the attack is coming. The nature of the attack was from many angles. Have you ever had the occasional season where everything around you seemingly unrelated is flared up? A whole bunch of seemingly unrelated issues have all come to pass at the same time. That’s a sure sign that the attack is spiritual.
When it’s coming from many that’s when you know. You know sometimes we think an attack is spiritual but it wasn’t. It was just because of some of our poor, bad decisions and you know, maybe you’ve got an issue in your life that you never dealt with and then it flares up. Well, that’s a spiritual attack. No, no, no, we’re just reaping what we sowed. You know what I’m saying? So, it’s not like everything is spiritual.
But I promise you, if you have a whole lot of unrelated issues come up around you. All these things flaring up at the same time. Coming at you from many angles. Then that is a sign that it’s actually a spiritual attack. And so then you just need to plough on and keep on going. One of the things we find even in church life. That very often just before some kind of significant event. That there’s something a lot of things flare up at the same time.
We had a number of multiple issues flare up just before Flourish Conference earlier this year. Just all these things happen. And we’ve had a couple of things the health of some of our key team and that sort of thing have flared up now. Well you just look at the calendar and say this is what’s happening. The devil doesn’t want us to come together. Which is actually a very good reason why you should. Because if the devil doesn’t want us to come together then maybe we should come together.
And so I want to encourage you to put all your plans aside. October 9th. Make sure that you’re here. Get in early. Get a seat. Our other campuses are coming. But something significant is going to happen. Why? Because we’ve got a number of things flaring up right now. Just before we actually step into that season.
Coming up in October as well and this is not something I really want to harp on a lot about but in October I will you know there’s probably not a lot that’s going to stop it but going to become the state president of the ACC our movement in Queensland. That’s coming up in October and don’t need to applaud. It’s okay. Haven’t done anything yet and so but that’s coming up. And it was incredible.
We had to sign a nomination back in May. For 2 month leading up to that signing. All these things from different areas. And the day it stopped was the day when I signed that nomination. The day we signed the nomination, a whole bunch of things settled. And I realised that was all happening to stop me from actually doing that. You know it’s a spiritual attack when it’s coming at you from many angles.
5. The response to the attack was to build and fight
The fifth thing is this. The to the attack was to keep building and be prepared for some fighting. Nehemiah 4:17-18.
Nehemiah 4:17-18 NKJV Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.
I’m not very, I’m not much of a construction guy. But I reckon it’d be a whole lot harder to build with a nail gun in one hand and a sword in the other. A tool to build and a weapon to fight in the other. I would have thought that would be pretty hard to do. So they were building but also prepared to fight. Yes.
They didn’t stop the building. It wasn’t like right guys. There’s all these people telling they’re going to come and invade us. Let’s just stop the building and get ready to fight. They didn’t do that. Because that was the purpose for the attack to stop them from building. They needed to keep building. But also they understood we’re under attack. We need to fight. So in the same way, you need to both fight and build. Keep building. Keep doing what God has called you to do but also get ready to fight.
What does that mean? Well, the Bible says, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they’re mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds. What does that mean? It means we get our spiritual weapons out. We spend more time in God’s word. We spend more time seeking him. We spend time in prayer like what we do in 21 days of breakthrough. We fast, we pray, and we give.
They’re all weapons at our disposal that we can use to continue to help us fight as we keep advancing. In the same way, you might find that you come up to a season where everything around you is flaring up. You realize it’s because of something that you’ve set your mind to. You realize it’s because God has got you on a path to do something even greater. What should you do? Don’t wait til we call a fast.
Actually, why don’t you spend a bit of time saying, you know what? I want to spend a couple of days fasting. I want to put my get my sword ready and I’m going to keep building and I’m going to start praying and fasting and fighting and beating back as I keep advancing into everything that God wants me to do. You need to both fight and build. If you stop the building, then you’re losing. But if you only build, then there could be attacks that you don’t water away.
Notice this, when they actually had the sword there, there wasn’t actually an attack. They never had to literally fight. Because simply by arming themselves, they dissipated the fight. And in the same way, when you’re on a season where you’re about to rebuild something broken in your world. When you’re coming up to a major transition, something significant is about to happen.
That’s the time when you need to pray more. That’s the time when you need to get into God’s word more and in the Spirit, you will be beating back things that were trying to stop you from stepping into all that God has for your life. The response was to keep building and be prepared for some fighting.
6. The failure of the attack is that it didn’t slow the building
the last thing was this, failure of the attack is that it didn’t slow the building the attack came but it didn’t win. The attack came but it didn’t actually stop or slow down what the people of God were doing. They still were built to the Bible says in Nehemiah six fifteen.
Nehemiah 6:15 NKJV So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.
So the war was finished on the 25th day of Eli in 52 days. They actually finished in 52 days. The attack came. It was annoying. But it didn’t stop or slow down what God had called them to do. As a church and as a school, we’re doing multiple building projects all the time.
Every venue right now, every campus has some kind of building project happen and the person who oversees all that is Pete Murphy, Pete and Lee Murphy, members of our church and he’s the head of capital works and so, he oversees all of that and so keep him in prayer.
Because he’s got constant multiple building projects going on at the same time and he said to me last year he said that of all the works that he has done for our school and for our church. He said the most the hardest one was building that forecourt. The most delays, the most problems, the most issues, aside from everything else that it was he was building was actually that forecourt. And I feel like that makes a lot of sense because that was kind of like the last old project that needed to be finished.
It was like rebuilding a broken-down wall. It was a half-finished project. Hadn’t been completed. We made a decision as a school board and church to rebuild that and he said the greatest amount of attack was against that. The most problems that he had of any building project he’d had was actually that one. We wanted needed it finished by Easter.
And so I would see Peter all the time. I say Pete how we going? I said we’re still going to be right for Good Friday and he’s like he’s like yeah yeah yeah. That sort of thing. Problems were coming. They’re pulling back parts of the wall and other parts are falling out and it was just, you know, it was just crazy the amount of things that actually happened but in the end, we opened right on time and all those issues, all those problems, he was building and fighting on our behalf.
It actually didn’t stop or slow down what god wanted to do. In the same way, you might be under some kind of attack right now. I’m here to let you know that doesn’t mean that you can be stopped.
You’ve heard me say many times before. The Bible says that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour that means he can’t devour whoever he wants. He’s seeking whom he may devour. And just because he’s roaring. Look at these guys. They’re breathing threats. They’re mocking. They’re threatening. They’re preparing to attack. But in the end they did nothing and it did not stop what God was wanting to do.
The only way you can be the only person who can stop the rebuilding of your broken world. Is you. The devil can’t stop it. People who don’t agree with you can’t stop it. People who don’t understand can’t stop it. The only person who can stop it is you. If you give in and stop building. And I want to encourage some people today.
That since the start of this series you’ve been getting a sense in your heart that there’s this error of your life that needs to move forward. There’s an error of your life that is unfulfilled, broken down, and God has been speaking to you about that area of your life. And you have started moving in that direction. Starting trying to make repairs. Starting trying to fix it. And everything is flaring up around you.
I want to encourage you today. Keep on building. Because it cannot be stopped and it won’t be slowed down. Amen? And so maybe you’re in this place and you’re saying Ben that’s where I’m at right now. Um in the last service at the 830, there was a lot of people that said that’s exactly where I’m at. And maybe that’s where you’re at right now. You’re going through a season where you’re unable, where you’re experiencing attack.
You know it’s spiritual because it’s on every side. And it flared when you started moving in the direction god wanted you to go. If that is you right we are. Just invite everyone. Close your eyes. Bow their heads. And online as well. And if you’re here and you’re saying that’s me. That’s the season I’m in right now. If that’s you just lift up your hand and say that’s me and I want to pray for you right where you’re at. I want to pray that God will give you the strength. So that you will keep building. And you might need to be prepared for some fighting. But in the end it won’t be slowed or stopped.
Father in Jesus name I pray for these people with their hands raised. And I thank you Lord God for what you’re going to be doing in and through their lives. And I pray Father and I declare that rebuilding of their broken world. The rebuilding of that broken area Lord God will not be stopped and it won’t be slowed down. I thank you for that Father right now in Jesus name. I pray that you give them courage. I pray right now Lord that you help them to dig wells of prayer. And I just thank you Lord right now in the name of Jesus. And I declare it won’t be slowed and it won’t be stopped. In Jesus name. Amen.