Broken Down Walls
Nehemiah was an interesting fellow; we know him mostly from the biblical story about his leadership in the rebuilding of the Walls of Jerusalem. In my quiet times, though, he got my attention more, for what happened afterwards.
Nehemiah worked alongside Ezra after the people returned from their exile to Babylon. They were re-establishing the faith of the people after more than 600 years in a foreign country. Their task was to safeguard the worship of the people, glorify God, boost trade and the national pride of the Israelite’s.
Ezra was a priest and had returned with most of the priests that used to work in the temple. He wrote 1 and 2 Chronicles, noting down a history of the faith of God’s people (which is why Kings and Chronicles seem to repeat themselves – they are written in two different time periods for a different purpose). Ezra set up the regular reading of scripture and what would in future become synagogues for the people.
Nehemiah worked alongside Ezra, and his first task was to secure the people of God in their city and rebuild their identity. In a sense, he also had to rebuild the faith of the people, by making sure that the temple and their worship activities were also safe. If you look at the story of rebuilding and repairing the gates, there is a lot to learn. But that is a lesson for another day.
What fascinated me about Nehemiah, was that he went back to serve King Artaxerxes as cup bearer when his task of building the wall was done. He then made regular trips back to Jerusalem to guide the people and make the necessary spiritual reforms that were necessary. Even though he had physically built a wall, the required spiritual reformation in the people of God was not complete. He and Ezra had a difficult task ahead of them and did bring the people to confession. The people, however, went back to their sinful ways. Again, and again.
Now that; would discourage any great man of God in his faith.
However Nehemiah seems to have a different approach! He keeps praying and asking God to “Remember me in this, O my God,…” in 5:19 (and 13:14; 22) and v31 “Remember me with favour, O my God.”
For Nehemiah, it was more important to be obedient to the calling of God on his life than the success of what he was doing. Nehemiah was always looking forward to his eternal life, where God would remember his right living before God.
How did Nehemiah maintain his faith in the face of such discouragement and opposition?
The answer to the question:
Nehemiah maintained his faith.
We too need to maintain and grow our faith. Just like the walls of Jerusalem, my faith is likened to a brick wall. As I build my life, with Christ as the Cornerstone: I build my life, brick by brick, faith decision by faith action. Life, however, can break down our faith, coming in like a wrecking ball it can destroy and undermine our faith very quickly.
In Jerusalem, their walls were broken down by attacks of the enemy, but also by the people’s neglect, lack of reconstruction and maintenance etc. As a result, the people were not safe and open to attacks from the enemy.
We too can have ‘faith walls’ in our life that look like the walls of Jerusalem. We all need to maintain our spiritual wall of faith, being careful to maintain it well, to secure ourselves from the enemy. Life will break it down, and if we neglect the task of regular maintenance of our faith, we will find our life weary, tested and open to attacks of the enemy.
What does your spiritual wall look like? What is the condition of your faith?
In this section, we will address all the challenges to our faith that will require work and maintenance from us.
Week 3: Maintain Your Faith
Day 1: Start in Faith and Finish in Doubt
Day 2: Make Up Your Mind
Day 3: Anything Bothering You?
Day 4: Be Shrink Proof
Day 5: A Dangerous Temptation
Day 6: God a Priority
Day 7: Jesus in Control?
Start with WEEK 4
Go Back to Week 2