Confession. One brain cell remains operational after taking in ten teens for a weekend retreat. Sleep deprived and staring down a school project assigned seven weeks ago and started five days ago, timing is perfect for this third and final excerpt on spiritual warfare truth from Nehemiah. It’s time to go on the offense!
When work on the wall is complete, Nehemiah establishes protective measures by which the Jews can guard against future attacks. He knows their enemies are not going to retreat just because the job is done, and they cannot rest on their laurels. They have accomplished a huge task, rebuilding the wall in fifty-two days (Neh. 6:15). Don’t you know all they want to do is pull up a chair, put their feet up, and just relax and revel in their success? Instead, Nehemiah places Jerusalem in the charge of his brother, and issues these orders: “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house” (Neh. 7:3).
TRUTH: As we gain ground in Christ – as our obedience becomes more wide spread and our wall of holiness becomes stronger, we must implement protective measures to preserve the progress we achieve. When we make strides, we can’t allow surprise attacks to set us back. It is a time for reinforcement and prevention. By keeping the gates shut until the sun was high, the Jews are able to prevent an unexpected assault. They use physical resources to serve their defensive objectives. In the same way, we must take what we have in the natural – our time – and dedicate the early hours of the day to preventing enemy attacks. Whether we are morning people or not, I believe the early hours are the most critical. When we spend them in worship, prayer, and Bible study, we are fortifying our walls and thwarting opportunities for the devil to advance upon us. During the night, Jews were charged with standing guard at specific posts outside their own houses. During times of darkness when we can’t see what’s coming and don’t know what’s around the next turn, we need to already be in our posts, standing guard over our own house, which in the Hebrew is inclusive of our physical bodies, our home, our family, and our inwards. We need to put ourselves through spiritual boot camp so we’re prepared when the enemy attacks.
Just as Nehemiah’s enemies come against every effort to remain steadfast in his obedience to God, I guarantee your flesh is going to resist the Spirit’s work to bring you into total obedience to your loving and faithful Father. The moment you believe on the name of Jesus and make Him Lord of your life, you enter a war. While Nehemiah’s battle was against other men and nations, and the Jews held swords as they rebuilt the wall, our battle is in the spirit with weapons of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:12 explains: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” What do we do with that? How do we fight these unseen forces that are out for our destruction? Our fight for holiness requires the full armor of God and intense training in His battle strategies. The first step in doing this is to disarm ourselves of the ways of this world and recognize the battle we fight, by what power, and for what purpose.
I think my last brain cell just fell asleep. May the God of heaven, through the power of the Holy Spirit, strengthen us with all might today as we become wholly His.
. Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for bayith (Strong’s 1004)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. Accessed April 30, 2011, http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1004&t=NKJV.