Through out the book of Nehemiah you will discover that the servant of God ignored all the advances of enemies, both the Sanbalat and Tobia and also the enemy within. The intention of these enemies was to de-focus and distract Nehemiah, but instead of paying attention to their evil advances, he concentrated in seeking the face of God for help and strength. When they offered to help in building the wall, he rejected their offer saying it was appointed that the Israelites alone should build the city wall. Perhaps you are wondering why. If enemy participated, they would mold blocks of sand and place them as the corner stone that will eventually facilitate the destruction of the project. Figuratively, this means that enemy had an ulterior motive for offering help. They intend to access your strength, they want to understand your logistic, they want to identify your weaknesses in order to strategize their attack against your when the time come. When they come with their jesting he took it to God who appointed him to build the city wall. When they threatened him he took it to the Lord in prayer for deliverance and direction. When they accused him falsely, he took it to the Lord for divine defense. When these people demanded for a meeting he took it to the Lord in prayer and also declined their arrangement with excuse that he was busy in his mission. He was at no time paid attention to them and this was so painful to these enemies. (Nehemiah 4:1-9)
Hezekiah ignore the threatening of Assyrians king and war lord but went to the Lord in prayer and God assured him that he should hold his peace that the battle was His. (Isaiah 37:14-20; 33-35)
Moses disregarded the threatening pursuit of the Egyptians by the Red Sea and declared to the Israelites, “Fear ye not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you and ye shall hold your peace.” He took the matter to the Lord in prayer. God gave him a direction and He did fight for the Israelites.
Perhaps you wonder why you should ignore the enemies. The principal function of the enemy is to steal, to kill and to destroy; but the principle of the creation of mankind is to build, to tend the garden of God—earth and to be in dominion over everything on earth. Enemy destroys but you are created to build and to rule. You will now realize that the modus operandi of man is different from that of Satan. The function of man is not comparable at all with that of Satan. Man does not have anything in common with the enemy. We are only compatible with God who created us in His own image. Christ because the scripture revealed that the Son of man has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Therefore when we are in alliance with Christ, we will be able to build, be in dominion and have life abundantly. This is why we must ignore satanic overtures and embrace God’s loving kindness and commandments that was intended to bless man.
Each letter of IGNORE denotes the steps of tormenting the advancing enemies.
I — Invite the presence of God to your situation. The name of God is a strong tower; the righteous run o it and are saved. (Proverb 18:10) David in the valley of Elah—name of God as his weapon. “You come to me with sword, wit h spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (I Samuel 17:45) Therefore submit to God, resist the Satan, he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
G — Give praises to God in your affliction. Magnify God with your praises instead of magnifying Satan in your sorrowful thought and downcast. A Scottish author and preacher George Matheson (1842-1906), who was blind, expressed this prayer: “I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my ‘thorn’. . . Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my ‘thorn.’ Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.” I know that it is not an easy thing to praise God in our afflictions, but it is the ultimate level of praise expected of a true believer. To turn pain to praise and sorrow to song requires a spiritual understanding and faithful mindedness that the presence of God is with us even in our afflictions. Therefore, we are to praise Him not only when we have a victory story to tell, but also in our afflictions and defeats. We need to appreciate Him having known that His grace is sufficient for us.
Consider the spiritual wisdom of King Jehoshaphat when enemy planned an attack against the Israelites. After he received the Lord assurance he encouraged the people of God and said, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” (II Chronicles 20:17) The king appointed praise worshippers as the arrowhead attack of the army of Israelites and they launched their spiritual missile against the enemy by singing and praising God saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” Praises was an invisible weapon. What the missiles, the jet bombards and heavy artillery cannot do in conventional physical war, praises of the children of God can do better, because the moment the praises began, the heavenly host will be set in motion to launch spiritual attack against the enemies of the children of God. In the case of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah and the people of God they stood still and God set ambushes against the enemies. The enemies began to fight themselves. This was incredible. Singing and praising God won a battle without raising a sword against the vast army of the Philistines.
N — Never yield to the advances of enemy. All the advances of enemy are intended to defocus you so that you can be hindered. A barking dog only purses anyone that runs from it. In addition if you try to tickle anyone and the person is not sensitive to and does not respond to the tickling, certainly you will leave him alone. When Satan makes evil advances to man, it is expecting a reaction. It is creating attention with series of temptations. It is testing your level of tolerance. Above this level, is the level where people generally fall into the temptation of Satan. Your reaction will determine his next line of action. But if you are insensitive to his sinful approach, he will leave you alone.
O — Observe the precepts of righteousness and practice them. “Stand at the crossroad and look: ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good ways is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16a NIV) Matthew 5:38-48 Steven prayed for his persecutors. (Act 7:60)
The last principle is that you should not withhold the heart of compassion towards an enemy. We can see the example of this when David and his company were pursuing the Amalekites, a dying enemy was found in the battlefield and brought to David. The man was a young Egyptian and a servant of an Amalekite. He fell sick and his master abandoned him in the battlefield. Under normal circumstances, in a revengeful pursuit like this, a dying enemy would not be treated with any kindness. However, David showed kindness unto this sick servant. David did not order him to be killed in revenge as he was one of the Amalekites that devastated Israel and took his people captive. He ordered him to be fed and cared for. They did not feed him with the food of affliction. They did not feed the found enemy with his own dung and did not ask to drink his own urine. The company of David gave him bread and water out of their own provisions. They gave him deserts—cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. Deep sorrow and afflictions of David did not blind his eyes of kindness.
In the upward pathway to greatness in the life of man, there is always a test of righteousness. There is always an opportunity to make difference in the life of a man of no importance, to do what we sometimes describe as an ‘immaterial’ good deed to a less fortunate person, to lift him up from the miry situation that will eventually make a difference in your mission. When God assured David that he would overtake the enemies and recover all the Israelites that have been taken into captives, He did not direct the battle plan. Howbeit, God put the victory key of the intended war on the pathway of David. The battle plan of God was the sick man abandoned in the battle field by the Amalekites. The key to the victory of David was the righteousness of heart and the act of kindness he showed to the abandoned servant of Amalekites. When the deft touch of good care brought a healthy recovery to the young Egyptian, he made a pact of peace with David and led him and his men against the company of the Amalekites. David smote them from twilight to the evening and he rescued all the Israelites that had been taken into captive as well as his two wives and children. He also recovered all the plunders of Amalekites.
Revenge or retaliation does not always possess a hurtful impact upon an enemy because revenge is an expected response and the enemy is prepared for it. That is why Paul in his epistle to the Romans says, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” (Romans 12:19-20) Some people do misinterpret this passage at times. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12) The enemy is the wicked spirit that is instigating their wicked acts against us. The unexpected act of kindness you do to an enemy is like you ambush the wicked spirit in him and the spiritual impact of this is heavy upon the enemy. When your enemy is down and helpless, do not decapitate his head. Instead, it is time to do uncommon act of kindness to him. It is an open opportunity to tame the (flesh and blood) that is harboring the wicked spirit with righteousness, overwhelm him with unexpected love, and leave him with no choice than to become the enemy to the wicked spirit that reside in him. When there is conflict of interest between the landlord and the evil tenant, of course the tenant gets out. In the same manner the wicked spirit in him will become frustrated and depart from him, and then a change of heart will take place in the person. That is how God change the hearts of our enemies to become our friends. But our righteous ways must first of all please God. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7)
R — Remind the pursuing enemy about his limitations in line with the word of God. When Satan tempted Jesus Christ to turn the stone to become bread if He is the Son of God, Jesus answered the devil, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone.” (Luke 4:4) Jesus Christ was reminding the devil about his limitation in line with the word of God in the book of Deuteronomy 8:3. When again this devilish agent tempted Him to bow down to worship him in exchange for the wealth and power of the whole world, Jesus Christ answered, “It is written, Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only,” once again reminding Satan about his limitations as revealed from the book of Deuteronomy 8:13. The Scripture revealed in the Book of Isaiah 54:15-17, “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth form an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is of me saith the Lord. (Isaiah 54:15-17) God did not say that enemy will not gather against you, but He ascertained you that whosoever shall gather against you shall fall for thy sake. God did not say that enemy cannot form a weapon against you, but He did not leave you in darkness that He had created the destroyers of weapons. Lastly He spoke assuredly about your life, that, “No weapons that is formed against you shall prosper, and had given you authority to refute and condemn every tongue that would fire the arrow of attack against you in judgment. The scripture revealed that “this is your heritage because you are the servant of God, because he had declared you perfect in His righteousness”
E — Execute judgment against the pursuing enemy. Place the enemy where it rightly belongs. Jesus said to Satan, “Get thee behind me Satan.” Bind the enemy— “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19) “That at the name of Jesus Christ every knees should bow, of the those in heaven, and of the those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11) “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5)
There is no way you can successfully IGNORE the enemy, Satan as analyzed above without taking the whole armour of God. The armour of God is your divine defense to thwart, to demobilize and disorganize the well organized scheme of enemy against you. If you are not well rooted into the knowledge of the word of God you will not know the spiritual steps to take to deal with Satan.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
The scripture in the New Testament recommended the whole armor of God as the weapon that can defeat and destroy the spiritual Amalekites and it comprises of:
1. Your stand in obedience of God, as to relationship with Him
2. Loins fasten about with the belt truth
3. Breastplate of righteousness
4. Shoe ready for the gospel of peace
5. Shield of faith
6. Helmet of salvation
7. Sword of the Spirit – the word of God
In this list there is no place for conventional bombs and missiles. All these are weapons of physical warfare and you cannot use weapons of physical warfare to fight spiritual warfare. The righteous children of God should go back to the spiritual war room to consider the logistic of God. The security code for safe and secured environment is ‘10-4.’ Whenever you hear ‘ten-four’ on the walkie-talkie of a security company in United States of America, it means ‘all is peaceful, safe and secure.’ Likewise the spiritual ‘ten-four’ stated, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (II Corinthians 10:4) And ‘ten-five’ revealed the effective result of spiritual weapon if it is righteously applied and it says, “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5) Physical weapon are not made to fight spiritual warfare. No amount of yelling and emotional outburst can defeat and destroy the spiritual enemy. You cannot face the evil giant in battle without the whole armor of God. There is no way you can cast out demon from its victim unless you are a true child of God that equip self with the whole armor of God. The whole armor of God is a spiritual maxim that the children of God should live by. This spiritual weapon will surely provide an effective result.