Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In the footsteps of Satan

In Nehemiah we are introduced to two very wicked characters: Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant. Sanballat was the governor of Samaria at the time, likely from the town of Beth-Horon (see Joshua 16:3), and Tobiah is simply described as 'the servant,' which means he probably served the king in Susa, and carried the order to burn the gates with fire in Ezra 4.
Their charge in Ezra, with which they get the king to agree to stop work on the city is that if this is allowed to continue the people will rebel. Later when Nehemiah comes to set the walls right again they try to intimidate him with the threat of reporting their rebellion to the king.
But their charge is instructive for us, because in essence it's that men must not have security lest they rebel.
That speaks more to what's in their heart than it is what's the reality of the situation, but it's the same thing I heard from the opponents of eternal security: give men security, give them comfort, give them love and watch what happens. Men must be kept sleepless, under the constant threat of punishment or the loss of all they hold dear if you are to manage them in any way. Forgive them and they will despise you, going on to sin without abandon.
It's easy to see that these two wicked souls were making a ruthless suggestion of which was unthinkable. It's also easy to see the parallel between them and the doctrine of grace, yet somehow it's not so ruthless and abominable to oppose the doctrine. Go figure.

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