Hey 👋🏾 there BCU Family!
As usual, you have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the message blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!
Last time we were together, God blessed Nehemiah to complete the wall, in spite of the last-minute attempts from Team Tobiah to thwart his efforts. When God commissions you to do something, it will be completed, enemy or not! (that’s another post, though). 🙂
Over our Nehemiah study, where we’ve chatted about overcoming people approval, the importance of gates , what do do when attacked, when you are weary on the wall, getting back to work on the wall, the enemy within and how to confront him. Nehemiah also walked us through how he led/governed (with the help of the Lord) the people, versus bossing/managing the people, which motivated them finish the work triumphantly!
For the remainder of the chapters in Nehemiah, we’ll highlight some of the Scriptures that I’m sure will bless, encourage and challenge you. Let’s look at Nehemiah 7:1-3.
v1)Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,
v2) That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
v3) And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.
Recall that in biblical times, cities were surrounded by HUGE, thick walls that represented strength, beauty and protection. Gates were needful to let/keep allowable things in and kick bad things out, so it needed to be manned. Nehemiah assigned porters or gatekeepers to keep watch on the wall. Gatekeepers were an integral part of the city. They had to be alert, faithful and trustworthy, as they decided who was allowed and denied access.
As a backdrop to verse 3, typically gates were opened before sunrise to allow the shopkeepers to set up tents and such. Because Tobiah, Sanballat and other enemies were likely still lurking, rather than give them a chance to attack in the darkness, Nehemiah gave specific instructions to the gatekeepers to prevent it from happening. God has appointed us gatekeepers as well, along with specific precautionary instructions to help us avoid being ambushed by the enemy. Let’s break down the four directions given in Nehemiah 7:3.
1) Wait until the sun was hot (it was good and light out), so no unfamiliar or threatening person could creep up unaware.
- We are to walk in the light of Christ and allow The Holy Spirit to spotlight any potential and actual areas of darkness, so we can avoid being attacked unaware. While God does allow certain things to happen to us for a reason, other times our “surprise” attacks are the result of an irregular prayer life, lack of reading/studying the Word of God, attending your local church services, Bible study and Sunday School. Additionally, if we are doing all these things, we need to apply what we’ve heard. If not, we miss God’s voice, instructions and the enemy’s sneak attacks come and overtake us–to places of despair, dissatisfaction and discouragement. Let’s check to “no” box on that! Go toward The Light!
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am The Light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12).
2) Until then, the doors were to be shut AND barred to keep the enemy from entering.
- With God’s help, we need to practice shutting and barring the doors that lead to darkness. Ancient Greeks believed that the heart and mind were linked and work in tandem, thus the saying “I know it by heart”. That said, the gateway of your mind is where things originate, they grow in your heart and come out in our words and deeds. Therefore, it’s vital to proactively protect the mind and heart.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philppians 4:8).
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
3) The gatekeepers were appointed to watch over the people in Jerusalem at their assigned time/post on the wall.
- At first glance, yes, this directive is for the leaders that God has chosen–bishops, pastors, elders, teachers, etc. When we are blessed to be under good, godly leadership, what they tell us is ALWAYS rightly divided and ALWAYS be in line with the Word of God. We can also glean wisdom from our leaders’ painful, difficult experiences they share, so we do not have to go through the same experience, or if we are going through, our leaders are a source of encouragement.
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17).
- We also need to gatekeeper for our young people. The music, movies, lifestyles and activities that were once considered risqué and taboo to see, hear, talk about and do, have become the norm and our babies are intentionally exposed to darkness, in the hopes it becomes normal to them. While restricting access and explaining why (with love and the words God gives you to say), may not make your popular with your child now, prayerfully, they will thank you for saving them from a world of trouble later. And if not, God will certainly reward you.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).
4) And keep watch in front of their own home.
- Finally, we are the gatekeepers over our houses (our souls). What are we allowing in that the Lord expressly deny access to? What gateway is most vulnerable to you? The programming you watch, the music you hear, the company you keep? We often dismiss away things that God is nudging us to give up as a form of entertainment. If that “entertainment” is causing you to think on and act in ways that are contrary to the what God says, we need to get our amusement from a wholesome place. Additionally, we want to practice yielding to Christ, thereby, lessening our desire to do anything that jeopardizes our soul.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire (Matthew 18:9).
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would (Galatians 5:16-17).
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners (I Corinthians 15:33).
This is a call to action, BCU Family! How are our gatekeeping skills? Where are the places we are opening our shops while the sun is still down? Are we intentional in ensuring the gates of darkness are shut and barred? While it may be a challenge, with God all things are possible! We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us! (Philippians 4:13)
Once again, we’ll continue to spotlight certain passages of scripture to close out our Nehemiah study, so please stay tuned for our next post/podcast. In the meantime, we’d love hear what YOU took away from what we talked about today, so please leave a comment in the designated section below!
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Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!