Nehemiah 1:3 – And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
There are two basic theories that guide both practical life and academic study. One, traditional theory is how to build things like a marriage, family, church, nation, business, or civilized culture. As Creator, this is what God does. Two, critical theory is how to break things that have already been built. As Destroyer, this is what Satan does.
As God works through Nehemiah to build (or construct) a place for God’s people to gather in worship, Satan also works through three named opponents to break (or deconstruct) all that is being built. Sanballat is the godless governor of nearby Samaria, Geshem is a public leader whose name was found on silver bowls found by archaeologists, and Tobiah is part of a ruling family mentioned outside of the Bible in places like 2 Maccabees 3:11. All three men are likely political leaders surrounding God’s people who hate and oppose the worship of God for financial, political, and spiritual reason. They work together to form an unholy alliance against a common enemy – God and his leader, Nehemiah.
Satan uses this same tactic in our day. Technology allows the wicked to connect digitally, form an unholy alliance, and combine forces to dissuade or even destroy the work of a leader. One of the pastors I personally learn from and listen to once asked me if I knew why total strangers who had never met suddenly align like two barrels on a gun to start shooting a leader. When I said “no”, he explained that even though people do not know one another, the demons working through them do and so the demons make the introductions. I have seen this pernicious pattern more times than I can count, and we see it again in Nehemiah as these three godless leaders unite to break what the godly leaders are seeking to build.
What has God called you to? What research must you do to realistically assess the total cost (e.g. time, money, energy, emotion, etc.) of the mission?