Hey there BCU Family!
As usual, you have two options for this post! Listen in by clicking the icon, read through the text or both! Whatever you choose, we pray God’s word blesses you!
So we are back with another study on one of my favorite books–Nehemiah! What I love about Nehemiah was his fortitude and steadfastness in doing the work of the Lord in the face of adversity. Before we dig in and talk about how we can overcome people approval/disapproval, we need to establish the groundwork.
Background: Jerusalem was destroyed and exiled to Babylon. After 70 years of being in captivity, the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland and began/completed rebuilding the Temple which can be read about in the book of Ezra. Nehemiah chapter 1 opens up where he inquires about what is going on back home.
v1) The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
v2)That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
v3)And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
While the Temple was rebuilt, walls around the city were destroyed. In Biblical times, cities were surrounded by HUGE, thick walls. The walls represented strength, beauty and protection. The children Israel were in distress and shame as the downed walls left the city and people defenseless and vulnerable against , wild animals weather situations and more importantly any ol’enemy could come in. Broken walls represented defeat and humiliation. Gates were needful to let allowable things in and “kick” bad things out.
So as we pause here, in a practical application sense, let us answer the question “what walls are broken down in our lives?’ No, not those unauthorized walls your flesh puts up because you “stay mad”, are hurting, upset and determined in your heart, this won’t happen anymore—I am blocking them OUT! That’s a dangerous place to be—let’s look at why.
- We learned over the last few weeks offenses will come (Matthew 18)—that’s a part of the believer’s—and really everyone’s lives, when you think about it. Believers are called to handle offenses differently than the world. We are to be angry and sin not: not letting the sun go down on our wrath (Ephesians 4:26), meaning we don’t hold onto the anger/hurt—we take it to the Lord and then to the person if needful, according to Matthew 18.
- When we don’t follow God’s prescription, that primes the enemy for entry. Why? Going back to our #SpeechTherapy season 1 study, because our speech and actions start in the heart, whatever we dwell on is what will drive us, so we have to constantly inventory our minds, and evict any thought that is not of God.
- Additionally, we talked about the lust of the eye, flesh and pride of life. We learned that desires are typically a good thing—we desire a home, car, safety—even to feel and show emotions, like happiness, grief, and anger. All VERY normal. Where the issue comes in, is when the enemy takes that desire, and turns it into a lust. Lust has a focus of pleasing oneself and can lead to fulfilling that perverted desire with NO thought to the detrimental consequences. So any ANGRY, HURT walls need to GO in the name of the Lord! Let us give those to Jesus and be healed!
About the “walls” (figuratively, not literal) that may be broken down and need repair: what about the walls of our discernment? Wisdom? Knowledge? Understanding? Did we ask God about doing, saying, seeing, watching, ignoring, going forth, lawfulness, expediency? Proverbs 25:28 says he that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. We cannot let any ol’ person, place or thing in!!! The walls stop us from giving non-working, scheming Junebug money when God said no. The walls will stop you from letting people overstep their boundaries! The walls will stop you from being over-bothered in your spirit about that repeat offender! The walls will stop you from letting the enemy take your mind, heart and spirit over! Ask God to help you REPAIR YOUR WALL!
Getting back to Nehemiah, the condition of the walls and gates tore Nehemiah apart as we read in verse 4.
v4)And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
As we pause here, Nehemiah’s concern for the people brought him to tears. When is the last time we wept over someone in affliction and shame? Did we just shake our heads? Say “that’s what happens when..” or “I’m glad it’s not me!”For those of us who have the Holy Ghost down on the inside, we should be moved in some way over the people and some of the situations they face in this world, and moreover, we can recommend Jesus.
Next and still in verse 4, Nehemiah said he sat down and wept, mourned CERTAIN days. The emotional desire to weep, cry and mourn is fine. Notice he did not cry and mourn for months and years on end. There comes a time when we NEED to go to the next step— fasted and prayed. Do we pray then react or react then pray? POUR OUT YOUR HEART to GOD. Psalms 62:8 says, in trust in the Lord at all times, ye people pour our your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us. Not Ba-boo, Bishop, Tink and dem—talk to the LORD about it. Proverbs 3:6 promises, if we acknowledge God in all of our ways, He will direct your paths.
In the following verses, we see how Nehemiah goes to God, rather than act out in the flesh. In verse 5, Nehemiah offers praise:
v5And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:
v6Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.
v7We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
He calls God in to remembrance of His Word, which is why we need to know it:
v8Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
v9But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
And makes his request:
v10)Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
V11) O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.
And as Nehemiah finishes up in verse 11, while we don’t learn the plan till the next chapter, God has laid on Nehemiah heart exactly what to do, so he prays for mercy the king to have mercy.
The function of a cupbearer was to taste (either for quality or for poison or for both), carry, and serve wine to his master. In a case like that of Nehemiah, a cupbearer for royalty was not just a personal servant but also a trusted confidant and advisor–a LOT of responsibility. Nehemiah did not let the trouble STOP him from going to work. Now in certain situations that may be called for, but NOT we cannot call out/sit down on every trial. Whatever we do, be it your regular job, homemaker, ministry of sorts, school, God expects us to continue our assignments. Too weak? That means we are relying on OUR strength rather than God’s. A good friend of mine says our strength is limited. God’s never is. We may get weary—but we can go to God and wait on Him to renew our strength, mount up with wings like an eagle that soars, they shall run and not be weary, walk and never faint (Isaiah 40). His strength is made perfect in a time of weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
WHEW!! The Lord made excellent points here, didn’t He? I pray that this study blesses and more importantly, CHALLENGES all of us to change and come up to where God wants us, Amen? Amen!
Thank you so much for tuning in, reading, sharing and encouraging us, as we encourage you! God bless you and until the next time we are together, #StayOnTheWall!