Series: Gated community living! Nehemiah chapter 3 (part 2)

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 podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

How have you been enjoying our Nehemiah study? I pray it’s been as much as a blessing to you as it is to me! In a recent podcast, we talked through 5 of the 10 gates in Nehemiah 3 and looked at how they apply to us today. You can check here for complete information and meanings for the first 5 gates but for now, here are the ones we covered:

  1. The Sheep gate
  2. The Fish gate
  3. The Old gate
  4. The Valley gate
  5. The Dung gate

As we look at the remainder of the gates, please have your Bible as we’re going to skip through the chapter noting talk the importance of the gates that we rebuilt. Let’s begin!

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The 10 very amazing gates of Nehemiah chapter 3! (Pic from FreeBibleImages.org)

v15But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Col–hozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king’s garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David.

This was a near a pool is where you cleaned up after the rubbish burning. I do not like taking out the garbage, but I do like the sense of accomplishment and freshness once the trash goes out. I immediately wash my hands afterward, too and try and keep things clean. So in our lives once we’ve been purged, we clean ourselves off and with God’s help and live without reproach! “Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His Holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity nor sworn deceitfully”(Psalm 24:3-4).

v26Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out.
Fountains and water go together! This was near a spring and it represents the Word of God and how it’s reflected in our lives. We continue to wash ourselves in the Word to stay clean! Psalm 119:9 asks “How do we cleanse our way? By taking heed to thy word.” James also reminds us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only, otherwise we deceive our own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James‬ ‭1:22-24).

v28From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house.

This is where the horses were kept in case of war they were ready. We war DAILY so we have to be and stay ready. Ephesians 6:10-18 says:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..”

v29After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. After him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate. 

 The east gate was referenced in Zechariah 14:4.  It looks toward the Mount of Olives and speaks of the return of Jesus Christ. Another reminder to stay rapture ready.

V31After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith’s son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad  and to the going up of the corner.

The word Miphkad in Hebrew has a military connection and according to tradition it was at this gate that David would meet his troops to inspect them. God will “inspect” and reward us properly. “And behold I come quickly and my rewards with me to give every man according as his work shall be”(Revelation 22:12).

v32And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.

This verse rounds out the gates. Notice how the gates/chapter started and ended with the sheep gate, just like things start and ends with Christ. ” I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end the first and the last”(Revelation 22:13).

Isn’t our God amazing? See how He spoke to our hearts using a gate as a tool? He knows just how to break things down so we can understand His Word!  So, with His help we can apply the Word to our lives daily as we strive for perfection in Him. Amen? Amen!

Thank you so much for stopping by! If this was a blessing to you, please comment below and share it with someone–you’ll never know how the Lord may use you to encourage someone else! And if you have not done so, please like BlenCouragesU on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!  And PLEASE subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio and iTunes. You’ve already done that? Then tell someone you love AND your enemy–I’m trusting they will soon become your friend! 🙂

Until we are together again, may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you–and #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

Series: Gated community living! Lessons from Nehemiah chapter 3

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 podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study!

So…we have gotten a LOT of mileage out of a chapter that looked like it should be skipped! LOLOL! Just when you thought there was NOTHING else to talk about in Nehemiah 3, we have some interesting information here about the gates here.

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The ten very important gates of Nehemiah chap 3! Pic courtesy of FreeBibleImages.org

You really need your Bible as we’re going to skip through the chapter and talk through the importance of the gates that we rebuilt. Recall that they were burned by fire (Nehemiah 2:3) and with the wall, they needed replacing. The walls are for safety and protection and the gates keep the good in and the bad out. Let’s explore what these gates were and how they apply to us!

 

 

v1Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it;  even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.

The sheep gate is where the shepards brought in sheep and lambs that were brought in for sacrifice. Who is our Lamb? Jesus. Are we His people and the sheep of His pasture? (Psalm 100:3). Yes! Is Jesus the good Shepard? Doesn’t Jesus tell us He is the door and if we enter in, we are saved and find pasture? Did nor He lay down His life for the sheep? (Read John chapter 10 for these references). We can see how this gate directly points to Jesus! 

v3But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.

This gate is where the fishermen brought their catches in to be sold. After we have been saved, we are fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). Something to think about here, when one goes fishing, you have to use bait. What bait are we using? The Word of God or our words? Any words at all? More importantly, do our lifestyles line up with the Word of God? Titus 2:12 says we should deny ungodliness, worldly lusts, LIVE soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Your consistent Christ-like lifestyle is the “bait” the will draw people to Christ.

v6Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.

This represents the “old” or established way of salvation. Jesus made it plain. Repent. Be baptized every one in the name of Jesus and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).  Moreover, once we are saved, we should LIVE life as Jesus commands. Where do you start?  Luke 10:27 says to love God with all your heart, soul and strength and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. That’s the law in two commandments. If you love the Lord, as you seek to please Him you will not intentionally, willfully and consistently practice sinning. On top of that, if you love your neighbor as yourself, (and yes, you do love yourself–you take time to bathe, eat, etc., that’s love), you won’t practice doing anything wrong to others. The Word of God makes it plain–no loopholes or “new”alternatives for living God’s way.  “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrew 13:8).

v13The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate.

There were several valleys surrounding Jerusalem and that reminds us that we will go through the valleys (tests, trials and tribulation) in this life.  How do we conduct ourselves in the valley ? Some of these experiences can last for years. What are we doing in the valley? Who are we reaching? Who are we ministering to? How much prayer vs. complaining are we doing? While the valley experiences press you, the have a lesson (we need to ask God to show us what that is) and a purpose. “But the God of all grace, who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered awhile, make you perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you” (I Peter 5:10).

v14But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Beth–haccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.

This gate was where trash was dumped and burned. How does this apply to us? As we come out of the valley, and loading up on the Word, old ,tired, non Christ-like habits, attitudes and actions and thoughts are dumped or purged. Take away the dross from the silver and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer (Proverbs 25:4).

WHEW!!!! As we wrap up this podcast episode, we are reminded that God is awesome enough to speak to us in something as basic as a gate, yet leave us a powerful message and call to action. As we meditate on the Word, let’s work on applying what God said, so we can become more like Him. Amen? Amen!

Lord will, next time we are together, we’ll plan to go through the the remainder  of the gates–you do NOT want to miss that!

Thank you so much for stopping by! If this was a blessing to you, please comment below and share it with someone–you’ll never know how the Lord may use you to encourage someone else! And if you have not done so, please like BlenCouragesU on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!  And PLEASE subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio and iTunes. You’ve already done that? Then tell someone you love AND your enemy–I’m trusting they will soon become your friend! 🙂

Until we are together again, may God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you–and #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

BCU

 

 

Series: Overcoming people approval with Nehemiah!

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: 

He repents:
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!

 

 

Love,

BCU