Updated: Dec 27, 2021
A Biblical Approach to Dealing With the Sanballat, Tobiah, & the Geshem Spirit: Nehemiah 6.
When engaging in spiritual warfare, it is always good TO KNOW what spirit(s) you are contending. Today, as I was meditating, the LORD led me to the Book of Nehemiah Chapter 6.
The scene opens in the Plains of Ono where we meet the treacherous trio – Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, and the “other” enemies. This is an “Oh, No!” story that ends with a sweet reminder that GOD resists the proud but gives grace to the lowly.
Sanballat is a critical opposer to that which GOD is establishing. His name means “secret hater”. The Sanballat spirit is one who criticizes the work and the people whose desire is to work and build. This spirit attacks the mind. He carries with him mockery and insult and his ultimate goal is to discourage.
#Sanballat does not travel alone, his sinister accomplices, #Tobiah and #Geshem, are allies and reinforcers who are ready to jump on the bandwagon to help tear down the wall the LORD is calling you to build.
Tobiah was a high-ranking Ammonite official and Geshem was an Arabian ruler. Sanballat and Tobiah will rally round with “other enemies” to strengthen their mission against you by using intimidation, insults, false accusations, and distractions, and all three have motives.
I have faced these nemeses many times throughout my journey, but I must admit that in those rookie days of mine, I was not as astute in my ability to identify them. Many times, I spiritually shadowboxed beating the air aimlessly, but today, hallelujah, I can see them clearly through the light of the Holy Spirit who always makes His plans known to those who are Kingdom-minded and seeking Him.
The Sanballat and Tobiah spirit moves cunningly. He can rub shoulders with you, break bread with you, and even offer to help, all while masking under the pretense of “friendship”.
Nehemiah encountered this mischievous group of people in his day. While Nehemiah was putting into effect his plan of action, they mocked, laughed, and accused the people of rebelling against the king.
Nevertheless, Nehemiah was not afraid to respond to his discouragers and accusers but confidently let them know that the GOD of Heaven would prosper them as they built. I just love how Nehemiah did not cower back in fear but confronted his accusers.
But the harassing posse did not stop there. This menacing spirit is bold and it will come back more than once. In fact, when they saw that Nehemiah and the crew were progressing in the work, they came back three more times.
Each time they came, Nehemiah replies with the same answer without being distracted or discouraged. He refused to come down from his work. He refused to allow the distraction to make him cease the work even if it were for a few minutes of his time. He said, “I am doing a great work so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”
Can you imagine having to send a message that if translated in today’s verbiage would be read something like this: “Look, I can’t come down because ain’t nobody got time for that.” Please excuse the urban lingo.
Gasp! I know! Yet, that is what Nehemiah replied. Nehemiah refused to be moved by false accusations and fear. Like Nehemiah, we must learn to stay in POSITION when facing OPPOSITION. We must learn not to flinch, move, or shake.
It does not surprise me that after receiving four responses, Sanballat still refuses to quit. Therefore, Snakey Sanballat ups the aggression to another level. Now, he moves from mere mocking and insults to literally designating prophets to spread fabrications about him. His hope was to scare and distract the man of GOD and the people enough in hopes that all would cave in and walk away from the work.
People of GOD, if you are not steadfast, confident, and unrelenting in your pursuit of Kingdom building, the enemy WILL USE PEOPLE and their poisonous remarks to viciously insult, attack, and ultimately discourage you straight out of your mission.
So, how does one deal with the Sanballats and Tobiahs? Send them a WORD. Do not come down from the wall of building, encourage your people, and continue to pray. Pray as Nehemiah did and leave the rest in the Father’s hands. He knows exactly how to deal with your oppressors.
Let us finish reading in Nehemiah 6:15-16 to see how the end of this story meets a great resounding TRIUMPH:
“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.”
Notice that when the enemies HEARD AND SAW, they LOST THEIR CONFIDENCE. Hallelujah! The very thing they had used as a means to inflict hurt on GOD’s people was the very thing THEY LOST. The LORD had rewarded them fruit sown from the works of their own wicked hands.
I would stop here, but there is a topping on the cake too sweet to let slip by. The added bonus in this story is that THEY RECOGNIZED that the WORK ACCOMPLISHED was a RESULT due to the HELP of THEIR GOD. Hear what Proverbs 11:11 says concerning the mouth of the wicked:
“By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.”
The way to stop the naysayers and the mocking Sanballats and Tobiahs in your life is to do what Nehemiah did:
1) Don’t come down
2) Send them a (Holy) WORD
3) IGNORE the insults
4) Remain STEADFAST
5) ENCOURAGE the people
6) Continue TO BUILD
8) and WATCH GOD
Tilt your hearts toward the Son!
~Narda Goodson, 2014 Daily Doses of Gospel PiLLs