189. DEAR SANBALLAT AND TOBIAH…
(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 3)
Dear Sanballat and Tobiah,
I know that you don’t think much of THE WORK I’m doing. I know that you and those within your circle have talked much about me and are obsessed with what I’m doing or not doing and basically, have been monitoring my business like a hawk. I know that you are incensed that I have refused to take the path that you want me to take or think that I should take, even regarding whatever I’m up to and have been exerting effort over with scorn and much contempt. I know that you have given me a fail grade in life in general and have declared me to be pathetic and that, given what little you know of my career woes and singleness, that you think that I will never amount to anything significant or build anything worthwhile.
Well today, dear Sanballat and Tobiah, an attempt having been made by you through words (again) to discourage me, to make me give up, to make me throw my hands in the air in despondency and callously (as if God did not see), to make me abandon God’s purposes for my life, the direction I believe he is leading and THE WORK I believe that he would have me to do, you having made me cry (again), I think the time has come to address you and the spirit that has been motivating you to obsess over me and come after me and insult me, by way of formal correspondence.
As I begin, you should note four (4) things.
First and foremost, dear Sanballat and Tobiah,
A few days ago (26th August, 2021 to be exact), I wrote the following about my career and work issues:
- “I wondered, how could I make use of my legal background plus my business knowledge and qualifications and marry all that with the things I am truly passionate and excited about, in an environment where I would be in complete control of what work I did and what I refused, unpressured by any force contrary to the sound virtues and principles of Christianity, unfettered by potential or real conflict of interest situations, risks and dangers, while holding fast to my integrity without compromise, unhindered by seemingly ridiculous advertising prohibitions, endless bureaucracy and supply outweighing demand considerations, enabled to operate at any hours as I saw fit, while couching all of that within a framework, that would preserve my usual hallmark of excellence.
- There was only one answer. I had to open my own business, not the traditional kind but something different.
- Slowly but surely therefore, I quietly began crafting this one-of-a-kind concept and did so on an on-and-off basis, over a number of years. It was a concept that was completely customized, fine-tuned and scripted to suit me and which would work for me.
- On the days when I felt that the journey was too arduous, the burden too heavy, the fear of the unknown too debilitating, the number of vicious attacks, insults and ridicule from Sanballats and Tobiahs too numerous to mention, even in the face of a dearth of encouragement and a sea of criticism, when I felt like turning back, God would direct my attention to two verses, which read:
- “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.”
- So, confident that the Lord wanted me to continue along this path, though unprecedented and unpopular, I pressed on. Rome was not built in a day they say, so piece by piece, I asked the Lord for strength as I continued to work on my idea, one that was only possible in the first place because of the knowledge, skills, talent and wisdom that God saw it fit to give to me. He did not leave me empty and for this, I am grateful.
- And by the grace of Almighty God, slowly but surely, my little idea is coming to fruition. This business ticks all of the above boxes and meets all of my requirements. It perfectly positions me based on the model I always wanted and have dreamed about, for the balancing of work and family life. Having persevered, I can truly say that I am purpose-driven, passion-fueled and praise-filled. Of a truth, I didn’t want to live my life any other way and so I’m grateful. Thank you Jesus.
- Three other sets of verses which the Lord has used to guide, encourage and strengthen me throughout the years, to take the path that HE wants me to trod and forget about people’s opinions and criticism, have come to mind. These verses state:
- “Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:10-13).
- “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me… Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and STAY upon his God.” (Isaiah 50:7-8.10)
- “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Secondly, dear Sanballat and Tobiah,
You should note that in 2012 or sometime around then, I wrote the following which I think is timely:
- “When God delivers you from bondage and you are about to embark on your journey through the wilderness, prepare yourself.
- You may have to forgo the leeks and the onions to which you have been accustomed and to be content with the manna which God has provided. You may need to learn to drink water from a rock and God may need to heap up a river so that you can cross over Jordan.
- There will be those who will frustrate you along the way and those who will bring nothing but an evil report. Some will tell you, the Promised Land is unattainable because it is comprised of giants whereas you are merely a grasshopper.
- Be also prepared to march around the walls of your adversity, maybe not once or twice or three times but as many times as God will have you. Once you trust in God, the walls of Jericho MUST come down. In all things, be prepared and trust God with unwavering faith. The Promised Land is yours for the taking IF you keep your eyes on the Lord.”
Thirdly, dear Sanballat and Tobiah,
You should note that your tricks, as commissioned by the enemy are not new. There have been other Sanballats and Tobiahs just like yourself, trying to derail and discourage God’s people as they sought to do, not what these Sanballats and Tobiahs wanted them to do but what God wanted them to do.
Ironically, on 31st December, 2014, after meditating on the scripture with Nehemiah and the wall the Israelites were trying to rebuild in the face of enemies (Sanballats and Tobiahs like yourself), I felt the need to write the scripture down under headings, which I did as follows:
(A) – NEHEMIAH VIEWS THE WALL
“Then went I up in the night by the brook and viewed the wall…And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.
Then I said 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… Then answered I them and said unto them, “the God of heaven, he will prosper us: therefore we his servants will arise and BUILD: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 2:15-20)
(B) – SANBALLAT AND TOBIAH LAUGH AT NEHEMIAH’S EFFORTS
“But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we BUILDED THE WALL, he was wroth and took great indignation and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria and said, “What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?”
Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him and he said, “Even that which they BUILD, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.“
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the BUILDERS.” (Nehemiah 4:1-5)
(C) – THE WORK CONTINUES AND CONSPIRACIES ARE HATCHED
“So BUILT WE THE WALL; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
But it came to pass, that when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabians and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM WERE MADE UP and that THE BREACHES BEGAN TO BE STOPPED, then were they very wroth. And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem and to hinder it. Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God and set a watch against them day and night, because of them….
And I looked and rose up and said unto the nobles and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses.”
And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we RETURNED ALL OF US TO THE WALL, every one unto his work.” (Nehemiah 4:6-9; 14-15)
(D) – MORE SUBTLE PLOTS TO UNDERMINE NEHEMIAH AND THE WORK
“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 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)
(E) – PROPHETS OF GLOOM AND DOOM – (CONTINUED STRATEGIES TO DESTROY NEHEMIAH)
“Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee: yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.”
And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in.”
And lo, I PERCEIVED THAT GOD HAD NOT SENT HIM; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired that I should be afraid and do so and sin and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.
My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works and on the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets that would have put me in fear.” (Nehemiah 6;10-14)
(F) – GOD FINISHES THE WORK DESPITE NEHEMIAH’S ENEMIES
“So THE WALL WAS FINISHED in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that THIS WORK WAS WROUGHT OF GOD.” (Nehemiah 6:15-16)
I have let you know all this to tell you, dear Sanballat and Tobiah, that the plot is the same as in the time of old. Your namesakes tried to discourage Israel as they tried to build the wall BUT THIS DID NOT STOP THEM.
The enemy has been using you mightily, just as he did with Sanballat and Tobiah in the Bible, to mock me, insult me, badmouth me, throw contempt at my efforts and consider my situation as entertainment BUT GOD!
The enemy was always and remains a defeated foe and all who align themselves with him without repentance, will embrace a similar outcome.
You made me cry (again) this morning but you WILL NOT make me stop. You’ve hurled insults, accusations and laughed at my situation but God assures me, that once I stand still and allow HIM to fight for me, I’ll be okay.
Fourth and finally, dear Sanballat and Tobiah,
Right after you attacked me with your words this morning (again), as you have repeatedly been doing without any fear and because I was choosing not to do what you wanted me to do or felt I should do but to listen to what I believe GOD wanted me to do, I wrote the following:
- “Just this morning, I was insulted again, even as I quietly continued working on my business idea.
- People who are supposed to be commending me for having stood up for my beliefs, purposing in my heart that I would not let go of my integrity and moving in the direction that I believe that God is leading, have been the ones to maliciously hurl the most insults, criticism, put-downs and badmouthing.
- I felt so discouraged after this latest insult, that I went to the Lord and poured out my heart to him, again, pretty much like Hannah did. I asked him to deliver me from oppression, abuse and suppression, to not allow people to discourage me on this path and to vindicate my name which people was using for ridicule, malice and entertainment, as he knows that I have always had a good work ethic, have always worked hard and honestly in his sight and that I kept my promise throughout all those years to hold fast to my integrity, despite the price, even if it meant I had to leave jobs.
- He knows that I repeatedly sent out hundreds of applications for all sorts of jobs and none resulted in employment, as those were not the jobs he wanted for me. He therefore kept those doors shut.
- Him having all the facts, I asked that he would arise and judge the situation righteously, as I was tired of people choosing to come after me and attack me in relation to my career issues, when I had obeyed his will and turned my back on the things that displeased him.
- This reminds me of what Sanballat and Tobiah did. As Nehemiah was trying to have the wall builded, they came with discouragement, mocking the Israelites and willing THE WORK THAT WAS PLEASING TO GOD, to end. Yet, to Sanballat and Tobiah’s dismay, THE WORK THAT PLEASED GOD continued and flourished and was eventually completed.
- God will do the same for THE WORK he has called me to do (both in the secular world and in terms of Ministry), even in the face of vicious attacks from people, taunting, mocking, criticism and jeering. Such people have allowed the devil to use them to try to dissuade, discourage and derail me but hear this: By the grace of almighty God, your efforts will not prosper. I will arise and I will CONTINUE TO BUILD.”
In closing dear Sanballat and Tobiah, know that the Word of God reminds me, that once I listen to his voice, hold fast to my integrity, obey HIS will and do THE WORK THAT HE WANTS ME TO DO, that:
- “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake… No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:14-15,17)
For, despite all of your wickedness, all of your gossip, all of your insults, put-downs, accusations and your finding entertainment in my situation, despite the fact that you have written me off as a failure and a weakling, contrary to your misguided opinion and the lies you have been fed by the devil, I DO HAVE A MIND TO WORK (I always have and always will) and what I am building for the Lord’s glory (not yours) SHALL BE BUILT. For it is not by might, nor by power but by HIS Spirit, saith the Lord (Zechariah 4:6).
(Written on 02nd September, 2021)
The Bible states “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
In sometime between 2010 -2013 or thereabout, I wrote: “There is and was always, someone FROWNING at the actions that FAITH inspires. But that has never stopped and does not and will never stop it from achieving the substance of the things it hopes for.”
Having experienced the worst of your FROWNING dear Sanballat and Tobiah, I boldly declare in FAITH, as I CONTINUE TO PRESS ON, even as the Psalmist did in Psalm 124:1-8, that:
- “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side…If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124:1-8)
(Addendum written on 4th September, 2021)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 87 – ‘I Lost All Control When I Asked God To Take The Wheel’
Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:
- Note 12 – Stressful Attacks – How David, Jehoshaphat and Hannah Handled It’
- Note 15 – ‘Why The Enemy’s Attack Is My Cue To Sing’
- Note 47 – ‘Silencing The Naysayers’
- Note 55 – ‘Self-Inflicted Wounds?’
- Note 59 – ‘I Will Trust God With My Enemies’
- Note 61 – ‘Are You Putting Yourself In The Line Of Fire?’
- Note 63 – ‘After They’ve Done Their Worst, Yet Still I Rise’
- Note 67 – ‘What The Enemy Is After’
- Note 79 – ‘The Woman Who Wanted A Baby – Key Points From Hannah’s Story’
- Note 103 – ‘Fifteen Things I Love About God’s Character’
- Note 104 – ‘If That Tree Could Talk’
- Note 106 – ‘They Can Think Whatever They Like – God Will Do Whatever He Pleases’
- Note 119 – ‘Bring God Glory – Build With Excellence’
- Note 123 – ‘God Calls Me Hephzibah’
- Note 124 – ‘It Is Well!’
- Note 125 – ‘When God Promises To Write-On A Write-Off’
- Note 126 – ‘A Hopeless End Or An Endless Hope?’
- Note 127 – ‘Left For Dead…Then Resurrected’
- Note 128 – ‘Tired, Weary And I Don’t Know What To Do’
- Note 145 – ‘Our Difficulty Is God’s Opportunity’
- Note 146 – ‘Death Must Come Before The Resurrection’
- Note 147 – ‘From Bad…To Worse…To Deliverance’
- Note 153 – ‘Note To Self – Keep Building!’
- Note 161 – ‘Overcoming Oppression – Spiritual Warfare’
- Note 171 – ‘Dear Peninnah…’
- Note 174 – ‘Grace & Glory – The Lord Will Help Me’
- Note 187 – ‘Stirring Up The Gift – Getting God’s Work Done’
- Note 188 – ‘Opportunity To Rejoice Or A Reason To Tremble?’