Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were relentless enemies of Nehemiah. They opposed the work of the Lord that Nehemiah undertook to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It would take up too much space to include all of the verses in my answer, but please read Nehemiah 2, 4, 6, and 13 for details about their efforts to hinder the work. They used various strategies such as laughing at Nehemiah and the Jews (2:19), mocking the Jews (4:1), conspiring to fight against Jerusalem (4:8), attempting to trick Nehemiah into meeting them where they could kill him (6:2), accusing Nehemiah and the Jews of rebelling against the king (2:19 and 6:6), and accusing Nehemiah of planning to set himself up as king (6:6-7).

They also hired a man named Shemaiah to try to make Nehemiah afraid for his life and convince him to take shelter in the temple. Only the high priest was to enter into the most holy place, and then only once a year. We read in Hebrews 9:7, “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.” They were attempting to lure Nehemiah to sin so that they could make him look bad. Nehemiah wisely refused to take shelter in the temple (6:10-14).

Nehemiah and the Jews rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem is a picture of Christians today building the Church, which is spoken of in Scripture as the household of God. We read in Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

We read in 1 Corinthians 3:10, “But let every man take heed HOW he buildeth thereupon.” We can help build the house of God by making sure that we stay close to the Lord, sharing the gospel with unbelievers, and encouraging believers. We read in Jude 20-21, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We read in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (NASB). We read in Hebrews 10:24-25, “and let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (NASB).

Just as Nehemiah had enemies while he built the wall, we have enemies as well. The Christian’s enemies include the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The world is not talking about the physical planet but everything in this world that is opposed to God. We read in 1 John 2:15-16, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” As we see in those verses, God the Father opposes the world.

The flesh is our old nature that loves to sin. We read in Galatians 5:16-17, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” As we see in those verses, God the Holy Spirit opposes the flesh.

The Devil is also known as Satan, the prince of the power of the air, that old serpent, the prince of this world, and the dragon. We read in 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” We read in Hebrews 2:14-15, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” As we see in these verses, God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, opposed and defeated Satan through His death on the cross. The Lord continues to permit Satan to operate in this world for now. However, after Christ’s millennial reign, Satan will be cast into hell. We read in Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

As we seek to build the house of God, let us not give in to fear, discouragement, and despair. Let us remember 1 Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” It will be worth it all, when we see Christ!  (449.4)  (DJ)