“Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.””
Nehemiah 2:17-20 NKJV
Owning a home is a wonderful thing. There is the advantage of having something of value, of having privacy, of being able to have governance over ones own environment. On the downside, there is also the constant maintenance to keep everything in good repair, to keep everything in clean, working order. Over time, despite our best efforts, houses can slowly fall into disrepair, as entrope sets in and the wear and tear begins to show. In some cases, neglect speeds the process along as the owner does not keep up with the upkeep.
Today, I began reading in Nehemiah as I migrate through to the end of the bible. The walls around Jerusalem had fallen in disrepair. The people had gone into captivity, due to their fallowing after other Gods, and the once great city was left to decay. Nehemiah had been alerted to the condition of things back home and had made entreaties to the King to be able to go and see for himself. Things had certainly gone down, but Nehemiah was inspired to rebuild.
The New Testament believer can take much from this moment in Isreal’s history, and find many spiritual truths that can be applied to the Christian life. I can attest to seasons when I have allowed my walk with Christ to suffer due to my neglect, or my added attention to other things. In those moments, I have seen my bible reading suffer, my prayer life cease, and my attention to the things of God fall away. The general quality of my life suffers in the neglect, and I feel completely lost.
My spiritual walls come tumbling down, and I have no defense against the enemy, my own sin, and all things fall apart. By the grace of God, He has given me the Holy Spirit to alert me to the state of things. He is constantly searching my heart and revealing to me, by way of conviction, that my walls have fallen.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV
He is constant in His searching. A year ago, I was at a low point. I grieved the death of my father, my health suffered, though things were improving, and I had spent much of the last two years struggling with complications regarding my kidney transplant, and my father’s dementia. I was a caregiver in need of care.
Slowly, God had begun to inspire me to begin rebuilding the spiritual walls in my life. I managed to continue my reading through the bible, as He used each day to remind me of His faithfulness, of His love for me, and the truth that He will complete His work in me.
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
Philippians 1:6 NKJV
I went through my own rebuilding in isolation, as the Lord worked on my heart and helped me to rebuild my spiritual defenses. For others, the rebuilding is done in the view of the world. When Nehemiah came to plan the work, oppositon was immediate there, as Sanballat and Tobiah came against he and his compadres. For the those who are the backslidden, coming back to the Lord can be met with much opposition. Those who live righteously are an affront to those who have chosen a life of sin.
Suddenly that person who was fun to sin with, is no longer as fun. They don’t laugh at the same jokes, they don’t like the same things, and they develop a moral backbone, affecting everything in their lives.
Mocking ensues, as people seek to live according to God’s plan and not man’s. But still they persist. Those who taste again the joy of such a great salvation, purchased by Jesus on the cross, know that God will bless their efforts.
Brothers and sisters, let us assess the spiritual walls in our lives and be about the work of rebuilding. We do not do it to defend ourselves, but to create a strong fortress from which we we can go out and share the Gospel to all who will hear. The message of redemption is illustrated by each new brick, in the walls of of rebuild lives. The greatest story that we have is like the lyrics of that great hymn, how God brought light into our darkness.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.
The God that saves us, makes us new, and continues on and on until Glory. Let us go forth and tell of that great wall rebuilder, Jesus!
“Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.”
Revelation 21:5-6 NKJV
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