how our enemy uses slander and gossip

October 17, 2016

Image result for picture of someone saying shhh

i know Thursday night is supposed to be Nehemiah night, but with the blackout, no electric, no internet and all the hassle i’ve fallen behind and lost track of what day and what I’ve posted, so in theory all is back on track.

Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter in which was written: “It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together.” I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
Nehemiah 6:5-9

We see that the enemy also attacked Nehemiah through slander. Initially, he sent four personal messages to Nehemiah, but on the last one, he sent an open letter. Typically, when sending a letter to a government official, it would be a closed letter so that no one else could see the contents. However, Sanballat sought to pressure Nehemiah to respond to this meeting by slandering his name. Therefore, this open letter would not only have been read before Nehemiah but, probably, all along the way till it reached Nehemiah.

Sanballat lied about Nehemiah by saying he was trying to become king (v. 6-7). If this had gotten back to Artaxerxes, it could have potentially meant Nehemiah’s life, as Persian kings were known for quickly getting rid of any resistance.

Similarly with believers, when Satan is trying to stop the work of God, slander and gossip are common tactics. The very name “devil” means “slanderer” or “accuser.” That is what he does, he slanders God; he slanders people. He speaks slander to anyone who will listen. He will even slander us to our own ears—offering an array of condemnation. Consider the heavenly description of Satan in Revelation 12:10:

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

1. Satan slandered Job before God.

In the book of Job, he told God that Job only followed him because God blessed him. He said, “Touch his family, his riches, his body and you’ll see that he doesn’t love you.” He slandered Job before God.

2. Satan slandered God before Eve.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan said, “you will not die but you will become like God.” Satan slandered God before Eve, implying that God was keeping the best from her and Adam.

3. Satan slandered Jesus through the Pharisees.

Christ was slandered and accused by the Pharisees. They trumped up many false witnesses against him to lie about him.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward.
Matthew 26:59-60

Satan commonly uses slander. He brings discord and problems to individual Christians and the church by bringing false accusations. That is the devil’s character; he is a slanderer.

Application Question: Why does the enemy use slander?

1. Slander is meant to discourage the Christian.

Listen to what Nehemiah said: “They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed’” (Nehemiah 6:9).

A discouraged, depressed Christian isn’t very productive in serving the kingdom of God. Often they become so focused on their problems that it weakens their hands in serving the Lord. Therefore, Satan works relentlessly to weaken and discourage the Christian, especially through slander.

2. Slander is meant to change the focus of the Christian.

Many times in seeking to defend our own reputation, we will find ourselves drawn away from focusing on God and the work of God. Satan slanders in order to distract the Christian.

3. Slander is meant to bring division.

Solomon said, “a whisperer separates friends” (Prov 16:28). The enemy will divide the church through slander, as he sends his whisperers around the church.

Observation Question: How does Nehemiah respond to the slander? How should we respond to gossip and slander?

1. Confront slander by telling the truth.

Nehemiah 6:8 says, “I sent him this reply: ‘Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.’”

Nehemiah resisted the devil with the truth. He simply told them it was not true. Many times we cannot do much more than that.

2. Confront slander by trusting in God.

We see this by the fact that Nehemiah prays and puts the situation in God’s hands. Nehemiah 6:9 says, “They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’”

It should be said that at times, in entrusting things to God, it might be best to just remain silent and not defend ourselves. Because rumors are false, many times the truth will become evident. There were times when Christ was accused falsely, but instead of defending himself, he chose to remain silent and entrusted the situation to God. Consider Matthew 26:61-63:

This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.

Certainly, we should confront lies with truth, but sometimes, in trusting God, we should allow him to be our defense (cf. Rom 12:19).

3. Confront slander by living a life that is above reproach.

The lies about Nehemiah seemed to have had very little traction. This was because Nehemiah was a man who was above reproach in the way he lived. As governor of Israel, he brought reform to the previous administration’s corruptness; he never even used his food allotment but instead paid out of his own pocket to meet his needs and others’ (cf. Neh 5:14-18). He had a reputation for being upright.

It becomes hard for anyone to lie about you if you consistently live a life that is above reproach. We see nothing in this text about the Jews or the king of Persia responding to this gossip, and we can have no doubt that it was because of Nehemiah’s chaste and holy behavior.

Listen to what Peter commanded of the Christians being persecuted in the Roman Empire: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12). Let this be true of us as well.

always speak the truth, don’t listen to lies, walk away from gossip.

god bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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