Study from God’s Word… Nehemiah, Chapters 4 – 6 … Passage for Reflection: Nehemiah: 4: 17 – 18 … NIV Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 18 and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.
My Journal for Today: Today I was taken, in my Bible reading in The Daily Bible in Chronological Order, to a passage that means a lot to me from the 4th Chapter of Nehemiah, … the story of how Nehemiah implemented a wall-building and battle strategy which was the epitome of spiritual multitasking. He convinced the builders to also become vigilant for attacks and to wear their armor and carry their swords at all times, even when they went out for water (and some think that this phrase in Hebrew, verse 22 of Nehemiah 4, could mean even when they were in the shower or out, taking a leak – don’t you just love God’s sense of humor in the Bible).
In other words, the workers, who were working for God’s project, i.e., His task of building the walls of God’s
Temple, were to not only to be workers, but they were to be ready warriors as well. And that is the same picture that the Apostle Paul used when he penned the famous spiritual warfare passage in Ephesians 6: 10 – 18, exhorting God’s people, the Christians, to ALWAYS be wearing the full armor of God [Eph. 6: 13-17a and carrying the sword of the Spirit [Eph. 6: 17b] so that God’s army, we Christians, can be vigilant and stand against our spiritual enemies (i.e., Satan, the world, and our own flesh) whenever the battle come to us, … which it will on a daily – even momentary – basis.
Those of you who follow my devotional blogging probably know that I lead a ministry called Battle Plan Ministry [BPM] [website linked here] for Christians who’re dealing with past patterns of habitual sexual sin. In our BPM discipleship training, we put a heavy emphasis on the battle strategies taught by Nehemiah and by the Apostle Paul, … that we MUST recognize that we’re in a constant – daily, even momentary – battle with our common spiritual enemies (again, Satan, His world, and our own flesh); and we MUST be constantly vigilant, wearing the full armor of God and carrying a well-sharpened and well- practiced sword of the Spirit (which, of course, is God’s word). Without this armament and weaponry, we would be extremely vulnerable to some very powerful and ever-present spiritual enemies who want to take us down in battle. Satan knows that he cannot have the soul of a Christian; but if he can take away the validity of our testimony and weaken the witness of a warrior for God, he can render the Christian almost useless in the warfare any Christian stands for in battle.
Therefore, we need to take up the strategy Nehemiah used and the Apostle Paul advocated in our daily spiritual task of building up the walls around our “temple,” which is, of course, our own hearts, since that is where God, the Holy Spirit, resides. And I have it on good authority, i.e., nothing less than God’s own word, that when we do become trained and experienced Christian warriors, always wearing His full armor and ever carrying a sharpened and well-practiced Sword of the Spirit, we can – and will – become like our model in battle, Jesus Christ, who showed us how to do battle in those powerful encounters with Satan (read about it in the first verses of Matthew 4 or Luke 4). Yes, I know that Satan was dealing with God in the flesh in his encounter with Christ in the wilderness; but Jesus showed all of us how to be prepared and how to do battle with our arch spiritual enemy.
We have to be – as Jesus was – on the high ground for battle, being covered by prayer in the Spirit (see also Eph. 6: 18); and then we need to ALWAYS carry and utilize our only offensive weapon against our enemies when we’re confronted by spiritual warfare; and that is to whip out and wield the sword of the Spirit, i.e., God’s word. But this implies that we are well-practiced and have well-sharpened our swords; and that implies getting God’s word deeply into our hearts (as you can read about in God’s prescription for our dealing with God’s word – i.e., see Joshua 1: 8 and Ps. 119: 9-11); so that we can whip out that sword at any time, as Jesus did in the wilderness against Satan, and wield the one weapon which our spiritual enemies cannot handle, … and that is the truth of God.
I could go on with this a lot more, as I do in being the “drill sergeant” and discipleship leader for BPM. But all of us need to heed Nehemiah’s builder/warrior strategy in today’s highlight passage. So, my dear one, if your armor for defense is not tuned up and being worn – all the time; and … if you’re not an accomplished swordsman with God’s word; and, … if you’re not continually on the high-ground with prayer, in the Spirit, you’re going to find yourself vulnerable on the battlefields of life, my friend. Oh how I hope you pray with me that we can all become ready wall builders and spiritual warriors for God as we rebuild the walls of His temple, … our very hearts.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be ever ready for battle, wearing your full armor, carrying Your well-practiced Sword, and going to the high ground of prayer daily for the battles I know I will encounter as I keep rebuilding the walls of Your Temple, … my heart. Amen