the fox in the hen house

October 20, 2016

Image result for picture of a fox in the hen house

Nehemiah on a Wednesday, I know it’s not Thursday, but I’ve been on the road all week and using my ipad which I hate, and the devotions tend to be a little skimpy because of my lack or expertise with an ipad. So here’s something to sink your teeth into.

Satan will try to use Infiltration through False Teaching. It’s been a long time since I’ve slammed all the religious talking heads out there that are full of hooey. Whether it’s Joel Osteen or Benny Hinn, or the local pastor, false teaching seems to prevail. When we do our annual district pastor sermons review, I’m amazed at the chaff in the sermons, more smoke than fire. The biggest problem is laziness on the part of the pastor, the second problem is lack of mentoring and accountability.

So let’s look at Nehemiah;

One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.” But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me. Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.

Nehemiah 6:10-14

The next tactic of the enemy was to intimidate Nehemiah through false teaching. In this scenario, Tobiah and Sanballat hired a prophet named Shemaiah to deceive Nehemiah. His intent was to get Nehemiah to protect himself from the enemy by hiding in the temple (v. 10).

It seems that Shemaiah was trying to give the illusion of a “prophet utterance.” When we see the prophet “shut in at his home,” he probably was acting out the prophecy. This was common for prophets in the Old Testament. For example, we see Isaiah prophesy naked against Egypt and Cush to demonstrate how Assyria would conquer them, take them captive, and lead them naked in order to shame them (Isaiah 20). We also see that Hosea was called to marry a prostitute to represent how Israel was adulterous in her relationship with God (Hosea 1).

Shemaiah said, “let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you, by night they are coming to kill you” (v. 10). This utterance seemed to be written in the form of a poetic couplet in order to trick Nehemiah into sin.1 However, Nehemiah realized that this prophet had been sent by Sanballat to make him commit sin and to give him a bad name.

This is important because one of the common tactics Satan uses to try to lure people away from God and their callings is through false teaching and false prophets. Listen to what Christ said:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:15-16

Jesus said to beware of false prophets. They are deceptive; they come to us in sheep’s clothing. However, they are really wolves trying to destroy. We will be able to recognize them by their fruits.

The enemy has led many astray through his false teachers. In fact, Paul said this:

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Paul said that these people are in the church masquerading as servants of righteousness. This is still happening today, and we must be aware of it. Consider what Paul taught Timothy about the last days:

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1 Timothy 4:1-2

Paul said that false teachers and false teachings will be common in the last days. Essentially a new cult of Christianity pops up every day, and many people from the church are often led into them. If this will continue to increase in these last days, how much do Christians need discernment more than previous generations?

Interpretation Question: How did Nehemiah know this was a false prophecy? How can we know?

  1. He tested it by Scripture.

Nehemiah knew this was a false prophesy because he knew it would be sin for him to enter into the temple and close the doors. The fact that the prophet talked about closing the door indicates that the prophet was calling him to enter the Holy Place, which was only for priests (Num 18:7).2 For him to enter would have been sin and possibly led to his death.

He, no doubt, tested this prophecy by knowing Scripture. God would never tell him to enter a forbidden area of the temple. A king in the Old Testament actually entered the Holy place to offer a sacrifice and God struck him with leprosy (cf. 2 Chr 26:19).

The best protection from false teachers and false doctrine is through diligent study of the Word of God. Listen to the story of the Bereans:

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Acts 17:11

We need Christians who are diligent in the study of the Bible and test everything that comes out of the teacher’s mouth. God is calling all of us to be “noble” Christians.

  1. He knew his identity.

Nehemiah said, “Should a man like me hide?” Nehemiah knew his identity as governor, but more than that, as a servant of God and the people of Israel. In serving God and man, he could not sin against them.

In the New Testament, this reality is also true of us. Part of the reason many of us fall to the deceptions of Satan is because we really don’t know who we are in Christ. When people don’t know their identity, then they will run around trying to find it in everything.

You will find your identity in wealth, education, relationships, or even sin, if you don’t know who you are in Christ.

For example, Christ taught his disciples about their identity as children of God in order that they would not struggle with fear and worry about future provisions. Listen to what he says:

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:31-33

Jesus essentially said, “The world runs after what they will eat, drink or wear, but you have a Father who takes care of you. Stop living for food, drink and clothing. The world does that, but you don’t have to because your Father will provide.” Knowing your identity will help free us from the lies of the enemy.

One of the ways we will be kept from the myriads of false teachings that will continue to increase as we get closer to the end times is by knowing the Word of God. Nehemiah knew it would be sin to enter the holy place in the temple. It was only for priests. But Nehemiah also knew his identity as a leader of Israel and servant of God. Knowing who we are will protect us from much of Satan’s tactics.

God bless and praise and thankfulness to the Lord, one area I often fall short of is counting my blessings and looking at the good.

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

2 Responses to “the fox in the hen house”

  1. God bless, I sometimes miss the responses, glad i caught yours, blessings.

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