Now we are going to see how the building of the walls and gates by Nehemiah applies to us in our spiritual warfare. The goal of our spiritual life is to “Know the Lord” not fight battles. Part of the battle is the decision to do it. We should consider our ways (Hag 1.7). Are we wasting our lives or are we building the House and City of God (Ezek 13.1-5). We “repair our walls” like Nehemiah with each piece of true information we learn. They are like a brick in the wall. Song 8.8 asks if we are a wall (strong) or a door (weak). The Scriptures liken us to a city with walls in Jer 1.18. We deliver our city by wisdom, which is “Chachmah” in Hebrew and means an “inspired intellect and input into the mind” found in the Torah (Matt 13.45-46; Job 28.18).
One of the main things Nehemiah needed to rebuild the city was water. Without water, the city would fall quickly. Spiritually, we need water and no matter what, we should never be cut off from it. Our enemy will attack us through the water that is the Word of God. They will say, “The Word of God says such and such” when it really doesn’t. We must have Da’at (Knowledge of God in the Torah) and Chachmah and drink the mayim chaim” (living water) not the “foul water” of false teaching. The walls of our city allude to the knowledge and wisdom of God. These walls must have a solid foundation and be set deep and broad into the bedrock (Torah). Nehemiah knew it wasn’t enough to have a wall, but he needed a good wall. He also needed to take steps so that those walls could not be undermined. He took steps beforehand, not after something like that happened. Jer 50.15 says, “the walls have been torn down.” If we look closer at any issue there will be great gaps in what is and what should be. How did Babylon’s great walls fall? It was a lack of true knowledge. There is a verse that defines how to fight spiritually. Isa 33.6 says, “And he (Messiah) shall be the stability (confidence) of your times, a wealth of salvation (Yeshua means salvation), wisdom (chachmah) and knowledge (da’at). The fear (reverence) of Yehovah is his treasure.” Only then can we “rebuild (Isa 58.12, 61.4). But first we need to remove the “rubble and trash” from years of false doctrine.
In the war against the Romans in the first century, the Jewish people captured advanced and heavy military artillery from the Romans. The problem was they could load it, they could fire it but they couldn’t hit a thing. They were just throwing rocks. It was not enough to have the artillery, we need to be trained in how to use it. We must also be balanced and hit the target (Isa 8.16-20). The knowledge of God allows us to know good and evil. The wisdom of God should be balanced with knowledge. This should increase, but the sophistication of our battles will increase also.
Nehemiah didn’t build the same type of walls David did because warfare had changed. Our battles will increase proportionately, but only as God allows. God will not allow us to get “hit” at a level you are not prepared for unless you have not put in the work and proceeded to the level you should be at in your walk. If you are a “child” who is in the first grade but should be in the fifth grade, God will allow the adversary (ha Satan) to hit you with fifth grade level weapons. Why? Because you failed to learn the things you needed to know.
Nehemiah had to build walls and gates that could withstand battering rams and rock throwing machines. David, on the other hand, did not have to contend with that. Apply that concept into your own life and ask, “What is my foundation? What is my wall?” We should be building our wall and it must be tempered with chachmah or it is useless. We build our walls with what we understand (binah=comprehension) about God. That is your armor and your defenses (Isa 59.17; Eph 6.10-17). We have the shield of faith (emunah) which means “confidence.” Today it is defined as “whatever you want if you believe” but that is a false teaching.
The more you know about Yehovah the more confidence you will have. Confidence in a battle is your “shield” or walls. These will “deflect” the arrows and missiles the enemy will fire at us, which is untruth. If you know that what you believe is the truth, you can stand (Rev 2.13). Antipas refused to burn incense to the emperor (idolatry) and he was roasted alive in an iron bull. What made Antipas stand? Confidence! If we are going to pay a price, do it for the truth and for what you believe.
Our walls cannot be your walls. You must have your own walls, shields, armor, sword and helmet to stand yourself. You must have your own emunah, da’at, chachmah and binah, not ours. Nehemiah knew these concepts well and so did the people. Nehemiah and other leaders can help, but the people had to fight their own battles. In our spiritual warfare, and as we build and repair our walls, your teacher, pastor, rabbi or friends won’t be in there fighting for you. It will be you and your enemy. If you don’t know how to fight or when to “duck” or counter attack, you won’t last long.
In Neh 3 we learn that the walls had towers (v 1, 26, 27). In spiritual warfare, what are our “towers?” Towers are the individual units we have studied and mastered, like the Hebrew language, Eschatology, Prophecy, Idioms, the Temple, the Torah, the Korbanot, the Festivals, the Clean and Unclean, Kosher and Unkosher animals, the Priesthood and Levites, the Gospels and Epistles, Geography and the list goes on. They will “overlap” each other so that all ground is covered in the case of an attack. There should be no gaps or holes in our defenses that the enemy can use to approach our walls. The more units you master (the tower) the better you can guard your wall at all times. You can keep the enemy from “getting in.” We have knowledge (da’at) with chachmah (wisdom) and Emunah (confidence/stability) as seen in Isa 33.6.
Each subject we learn is like building a tower. It should have overlapping fields of fire with the other units you have studied if it is true. We should never abandon our towers in a battle. The better you master a subject (tower) the stronger your tower is. A square tower was simple, and it is like learning a unit of study “in the rough.” A semi-circular tower was more sophisticated and took more skill and it is like learning a unit of study very well.
The towers were built with balconies which had slots to fire straight down on the enemy. This means taking our knowledge and extending it out so we can use it. This is what we call “application.” Balconies on our towers are how we apply what we have learned to defeat the enemy if he gets close to our walls. There should be no “dead ground” and the enemy will pay a price in order to get close to us.
Now, another way to keep the enemy away from our walls is to build a “glacis.” A glacis is a gently sloping bank that slopes down away from the walls of the city, exposing the attackers to defensive missiles. You don’t want the enemy to just walk right up to your walls. Nehemiah had natural valleys on three sides of the city where the enemy could not approach the walls with siege engines or battering rams. However, the north side was vulnerable, and north is the side of human wisdom and intellect. There were no valleys and natural defenses on that side, so that was where the attack would come from (the battle of the mind).
Spiritually, a glacis can be many things. It is like a spiritual “stiff arm.” How does the enemy reach us? Through jobs, finances, relationships, health, emotions, depression, deception and more. When the enemy comes, he will come against us in more than one way. He will create a diversion, a distraction and use division. He may use finances to destroy his real goal, your family relationships or health. He wants to put pressure on you. Depression can manifest in several ways, making you “daydream” or just sitting around being non-productive and apathetic for the Kingdom of God and spiritual things.
We need to build a glacis and what is it? It is our attitude (Judges 7.5-6; 2 Tim 4.2). If our attitude fails, the enemy will get into our walls (close) and it doesn’t matter how good our wall is. If our attitude is strong, we will be content no matter what we are faced with. The enemy is not going to get to our wall. We have an example of attitude in 2 Kings 13.14-19. The king was faint in heart so he will be faint in heart in battle, too. The better you build your attitude the better your glacis will be. Our attitude should be Isa 55.8-9, but changed to say God’s ways are our ways, and his thoughts are our thoughts.
Our walls of defense must complement one another. Amos 3.3 literally says, “Can two walk together without having met one another?” We must have common ground. If not, the enemy will isolate us. The things in our lives should complement each other, and not work against each other. This includes our relationships, job and what we study.
There is another thing we can do to keep the enemy away from our wall. We can build a “moat.” Nehemiah built a moat (Dan 9.24-27), so what is a moat? A moat is a deep, wide ditch surrounding the walls that are usually filled with water and intended to keep siege engines and battering rams away from the walls. What does a moat symbolize in our spiritual warfare? It is our observance in keeping and guarding the Torah.
A “keep” was also part of the defense of a fort or city. Deut 28.1-14 tells us that our most important weapon is righteous behavior as defined by the Torah. A keep was a type of fortified citadel built within a fort or city where the defenders could fall back to if the walls failed. It was very well constructed, with walls and towers that were very thick. Prov 16.1 tells us that “The plans of the heart belong to man (prepare), but the answer of the tongue is from Yehovah.” In other words, we should prepare but God will speak to us. We must know what we are talking about so that God can use us when the time comes.
What kind of city do we want? We want a city with broad (wide) walls, with crenels (openings to fire from on a wall), embrasures (the solid wall between crenels to hide from enemy fire), a moat, a glacis, catapults and top of the line weapons and towers. But we can’t build our walls overnight. We can’t build what we need by attending a few meetings. We must study and learn for hours everyday, but even that isn’t enough. We must do it with God’s wisdom. We must realize that we are going to be attacked, so we must build our walls strong before all that happens like Nehemiah did.
In Part 4, we will pick up in Neh 4.1-23.