It doesn’t take long for physical things to begin to wear down if they are not properly maintained.
It’s an even faster decline if it’s purposefully attacked and broken down.
The book of Nehemiah chronicles the enormous task of bringing order to a broken and defenseless city.
Jerusalem had been laid waste.
Which God allowed due to the stubborn refusal of the people.
(The book of Jeremiah is one of the places which tells this heartbreaking story.)
The Lord sent many prophets to warn them, many chances to turn to Him and serve Him only.
But they had refused and chosen judgement and thus their city was left broken.
The wall, which was the best defensive protection, lay in ruins.
The people had returned to the land from captivity to rebuild the temple.
Ezra 1:1-2NKJV — Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.
They encountered a great deal of opposition to this, but they did eventually get it done.
Yet, many years later the wall was still broken and the gates were unusable.
Nehemiah 1:2-3 NKJV — that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”
God sent Nehemiah to rebuild the wall.
Nehemiah 2:17 NKJV — 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.”
It was a difficult task.
The odds were completely against them and their enemies threatened them continually.
Nehemiah 4:16 NKJV — So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.
Yet, God was with them and the task was completed.
Nehemiah 7:1 NKJV — Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed,
Once the walls were rebuilt Nehemiah set up honorable people to organize and coordinate the city and to maintain it.
Nehemiah 7:2 NKJV — that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.
After all this, the Word of God was brought out and the people were instructed.
Nehemiah 8:1-2 NKJV — Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.
The book goes on to chronicle how Nehemiah deals with sin amongst the people, especially the leaders.
There are numerous applications for the follower of Christ within this book.
The book of Nehemiah starts with the knowledge of the condition of the wall.
It was broken down and the gates were burned.
What is the status of our wall?
Not a physical structure, but a spiritual one.
Job shows us what a spiritual wall looks like.
Job 1:5 NKJV — So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.
Job prayed and offered sacrifices for his children, incase one of them had sinned.
He did it often, it was a habit.
Job’s spiritual wall was an outgrowth of his personal walk with the Lord.
Job 1:1 NKJV — There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.
Job understood the importance of covering his family in prayer.
The enemy also understood the spiritual wall God had placed around Job.
Job 1:9-10 NKJV — So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.”
One might argue that Job’s spiritual wall wasn’t good enough when his life turns upsidedown due to the enemy being allowed to touch his wealth, his family, and his health.
But these things do not occur because Job sinned.
They are a test of Job’s character.
The end of the book of Job reveals the difference, God restores everything more than before and Job’s integrity remains intact.
Spiritual protection doesn’t mean everything will always be “good”.
It means we are secure in knowing everything is in God, not a consequence of sin.
For sin harms us and our families, which is why God teaches us so much about it and warns us to avoid it.
Through Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to live free from sin and upright before God.
We also have a responsibility to build boundaries and fortify ourselves and our families against evil.
We too can maintain our spiritual wall through prayer and living upright before the Lord.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Lord, thank You for Nehemiah and Job and the lessons we can glean from their lives. Lord, please continue to teach me how to maintain a spiritual wall. Lord, I do not want to be defenseless against sin or the enemy because I have neglected my walk with You in any place. Lord, please show me my weaknesses that I might confess them and turn to You. Lord, my family is Yours and I trust You with them. Please help me to pray fervently for them with wisdom. Lord, please grant me discernment as I stand in prayer for each one. Lord, thank You for Your Word, Your love, Your truth. It is such a joy to put my trust in You! Amen.