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Set Yourselves and Take a Stand

posted Sep 5, 2012, 10:14 AM by Antonio Lundy
Elder Al Lundy

 Let us take a brief look first at what God has been sharing with us through our set man of God.  Through a series of lessons, God has blessed the man of God to let us know that there are some battles where we need to just step back and let God do what He needs to do.  Look at the words of 2 Chronicles 20:14:17.

"Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation;  And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.  To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you"  (2 Chronicles 20:14-17).

Isn’t it good to know that when you are out on the battlefield in the heat of the battle that the Lord can send the Spirit of the Lord right in the midst of the congregation and give you a WORD?   It seems that no matter what kind of battle you are going through, God always provides His covenant people a way of escape.  Look at Israel and all those years they were in Egypt and God made a way of escape for them.   An example is found in the book of Exodus:

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever” (Exodus 14:13).

Think about Israel’s 40 year journey in the wilderness, a situation brought about because of their own disobedience and yet God provided a way of escape, across the Jordan and into the promise land.  Amazing to say the least.

Think about David, who allowed himself to be caught up with a married woman and then later murdered her husband, but God made a way of escape.  Thank God for men like the prophet Nathan who stepped forward and addressed David's problem.  David is the same man who later became a giant killer.  

Think about the battles you have faced over just the last 12 months and how God stepped in and brought all of you and me out of them all.  And brought you (me) to a place of safety and gave us peace.  He brought us out of things such as: sexual perversion, greed, lust and anger.

In the book of Nehemiah, we find a man there who took on the heavy task of bringing restoration to Jerusalem, a place where the wall had been torn down and the gates thereof burned with fire (See Nehemiah 1:1-3).  Here, the Bible says that the gates were burned with fire and the walls were torn down.  They obviously needed some help!  And to make matters worse, the people were in great affliction.  It is times like these, we have got to set ourselves and take a stand.  

Knowing that when we take that stand, there is an enemy that is waiting to hinder the work that God has set before us but still we have to set ourselves and take a stand!  Let us now take an even closer look at Nehemiah and this man of God who was not afraid take a stand.  The scripture text is found in Nehemiah chapter 1 verses 1-11

"1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,  

2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 

 3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. 

4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

5 And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.

7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer."

His First stand

Many of us would jump us and be ready to mount our beast and get on down to Jerusalem to assess the situation.  Let’s learn a lesson from Nehemiah.  Here is what he did once he heard the report from his breathen:

1.  He sat down
2.  He wept (shedded tears as an expression of emotion)
3.  He mourned certain days (to feel or express grief or sorrow)
4.  He fasted 
5.  He prayed before God (This one is critical)

In John Maxwell’s Leadership Bible, page 575, he states:  

“Something powerful happens when a leader prays and stands in the gap for his people." And he goes on to say that "intercession must always be a primary role for a leader.”

John Maxwell goes on to say that prayer accomplishes four things (based on his experiences):

1.   "Prayer internalizes the burden, deepening our ownership of a need."

2.  "Prayer insists that we quiet our hearts and wait, slowing us down to receive from God."

3.  "Prayer infuses the vision, enabling us to see what God wants us to do."  infuses means to: 

           a. To put into or introduce as if by pouring: infused new vigor into the movement.
           b. To fill or cause to be filled with something: infused them with a love of the land.
           c. To introduce (a solution) into the body through a vein for therapeutic purposes.

4.  "Prayer initiates the vision’s fulfillment, acting as a catalyst for us to act."

His Second stand

Nehemiah devoted himself to many days of weeping, mourning, fasting and praying.  
Look at chapter 2, verses 1-6:

"1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, [that] wine [was] before him: and I took up the wine, and gave [it] unto the king. Now I had not been [beforetime] sad in his presence.  

2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why [is] thy countenance sad, seeing thou [art] not sick? this [is] nothing [else] but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,"

 Nehemiah was gripped with total fear but he took a stand.

"3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, [lieth] waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? 

4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.  (no less than 11 times, he was standing in prayer)

5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.

6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.” (Nehemiah 2:1-6).

Here are some nuggets to take away

Nehemiah has taught me and should teach all of us that when dire situations do arise in our lives, we need to take a proactive rather than a reactive approach to the situation.

He took the initiative in praying, he took the initiative in planning the rebuilding project,and he took the initiative in persuading the people to act and to get the job done.

His Third Stand…against the enemy    

The enemy will attempt to get in our way and bring discouragement. Take a stand!  
Look at what happened when the enemy heard that Nehemiah had taken off on his mission.

“When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard (of it), it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel" (Nehemiah 6:10).

Seems to be that when one is on a mission for God, one has to be ready to take a stand because it will grieve the enemy exceedingly (v10) and that enemy, that adversary, will do any and every thing possible to stop the work.  When we take a stand, we cannot afford to be like fools but use wisdom in all that we do.  Take a look how Paul in the New Living Translation addresses this issue.

 “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.  And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:15-20). 

His Fourth Stand – Was When the people made up their mind to stand with him

Keep the following in mind:  the enemy never quits.  So we have to always be ready to take a stand even when we feel we are under severe distress.

“Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.  Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me.  And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.  But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king” (Nehemiah 2:17-19).

His Fifth Stand:  against a persistent enemy

The Lord and His word has a way of teaching us how to deal with a persistent enemy.  The answer:  Take a stand.

 “Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)  That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.  And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner" (Nehemiah 6:1-4).  

The enemy will try every trick in the book to discourage you from doing a great work. But we need to stand, and take a stand and let them know face-to-face that the work will not cease in spite of their persistent push to stop the good work.

Our Stand

How will we respond when the enemy comes and tries to hinder the good and great work being done?  We certainly encourage you to take a stand.  Let us reemphasize that as a people of God, we have to set ourselves and stand. 

When the Bible says set yourselves and stand, it has essentially has given us an  imperatives.  What is it?  It is an order or command to do something.  In no way does it even remotely suggest that we should sat down.  No.  We are to stand fast in the liberty that Christ has given to us. So, none of can afford to stand with the enemy.  We have to take a firm stance against the enemy and all that the enemy stands for.  We have to keep on our armor and be deal with the enemy.  We have to uphold or sustain the authority that God has given us.  We have to be of a steadfast mind.  Ladies and gentleman, men and women of God, put ye on the whole armour of God and take a stand (Ephesians 6:11-14).  

“For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 3:8)

Here is the question: Are you ready with a Nehemiah spirit to take that  stand?