Playing offense and defense

Rule #3: “Gain possession of a better weapon or a better tactical system, induce the enemy to launch a fruitless attack, and then to attack oneself.”

-Bevin Alexander

The Israelites did not have to do anything other than the work of God to attract unfriendly attention. Returning from a place of captivity, Nehemiah came to Jerusalem with the sole objective of restoring the city to its former glory in the Lord. He wanted to rebuild that which was destroyed, to recover the land that was stolen.

Soon after the arrival of some Israelites and Nehemiah, opposition came on the scene. Men who wanted nothing more than to deter the Israelites from their work and to discourage their ever continuing. They were enemies of the working of God and His people.

Men from all over were plotting against the Israelites and were scheming to stop the work and harm the workers. The stakes were high, and the threat was real. The enemies weren’t just wanting to cause a little hiccup in the rebuilding. No, their intentions were entirely evil and centered on killing those who were reconstructing the wall of Jerusalem.

Can I tell you something, brothers and sisters? The moment you put your hand to the plow to do the work of the Lord, you had better be prepared for opposition. Satan takes no happiness in knowing you are now reunited with Christ. In fact, he takes it as an offense to him, and he will do all in his power, use every weapon in his arsenal, and try everything he can possibly think of to destroy you in your faith walk. Like the men opposing Nehemiah and the Israelites, the enemy of our souls is focused on crippling your faith and crumbling your testimony.

Nehemiah 4:9 tells us that Nehemiah and the Israelites prayed to their God and posted a guard both day and night to protect the people. The people, still fearful of their enemies and exhausted from the work they were doing, shared their worries with Nehemiah.

Shifting from merely playing a defensive game, Nehemiah prayed and then proceeded to take an offensive stance. “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah” (Nehemiah 4:16). Now the men were ready for an attack at anytime, and their work wasn’t being neglected because of it. They were building and battling. No longer were they choosing between the two. They had learned to do the work of God while opposing the plans of the enemy.

Friends, I believe we are called to live the same way in our spiritual walks with the Father. When we feel an onslaught of spiritual warfare, our first instinct might be to draw back from church and fellowship, but I challenge you to pursue God with even more diligence in these times. When you feel discouraged or downtrodden, don’t stand in that place but continue doing what God has already spoken. In those seasons of silence, don’t allow the enemy to play mind-games with you. Seek the Lord and continue in what He’s asked you to do! We no longer can choose between offense or defense. We need to be adept in both, constantly seeking God’s face, and trusting His voice when He tells us to move.

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