“From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. “
In this section of Scripture, Nehemiah has returned with a remnant of Jews to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall surrounding the city. However, as they worked to rebuild the wall, their enemies tried to frustrate the work being done by intimidating and attacking them. Nehemiah instructed God’s people to continue the work with a hammer in one hand, while defending themselves with a sword in the other hand.
This two-handed approach to building a stronghold is very much the same technique we are to use in pulling down strongholds. In one hand we are to use the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to resist our enemy when he attacks and tempts us. In the other hand we are to use the hammer to tear down the layers of wrong thinking that we have built around our bad behaviors. A hammer has a two-fold purpose; the mallet is used to build up while the claw is used to tear down.
To tear down strongholds we have to quench the fiery darts of Satan as we dismantle the fortress of wrong thinking he has taken up residence in. Last spring I had an interesting encounter with a bird that decided to take up residence in the wreath we had hanging on our front door. I noticed him flying off when I opened the door to leave or when I was coming up the sidewalk to my house. I didn’t think much of it until one day I came home and he had, for lack of a better word, “pooped” all over my front door and made a mess of my porch. So I began to pound the door as I was leaving and jostled the wreath thinking this would cause the bird to leave. Each time the bird would fly off, but as soon as I was gone, he would reoccupy the wreath. I can’t blame the bird; a wreath is nothing more than a woven braid of dead sticks. Why not build a nest there? I had done most the work for him. So no matter how much resistance I showed toward him, he kept coming back. Finally, one day I was completely fed up and went out, tore out the nest and removed the wreath from my door. Guess what? The bird never came back.
When we build a stronghold around our bad behavior, it is like putting a wreath on our door. Satan sees that you have started building a stronghold around a wrong behavior and simply comes and takes up residence. You can shoo him off using the Word of God, however if you never deal with the stronghold in your life, he will simply come back at a more opportune time and live in your nest. Resisting the devil is not enough! We must tear out the stronghold that he continues to return and perch in!
When we tear down the wall of wrong thinking that we have built to protect a wrong behavior it leaves no place for the devil. That is why real spiritual warfare is really 20 percent resisting the devil and 80 percent tearing down the nest!
Pastor Scott Burr