Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rebuilding the Wall

I’ve been reading the book of Nehemiah lately.  Nehemiah was the leader God raised up to lead the rebuilding of the Jerusalem city wall after its destruction during the exile.  And I’m thinking that the American church needs a wall rebuilt.

I realize this may seem inconsistent with my earlier criticism of believers who cocoon themselves away from the world.  But a cocoon is not a wall.  A cocoon hides you from the outside dangerous world because you are too fragile and weak to face it without being destroyed.  A city wall is a sign of strength.  It has gates (ten that I counted in chapter 3) which allow the friendly to enter and exit freely but are shut securely when the enemy attacks.
Like Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time, the church today is shamed because our wall is a pile of rubble that the Enemy can breach at will – and does breach, often.  (How many disgraced evangelists can you name? . .  Have you compared the divorce rate among believers and non-believers lately? . . and this is only the visible tip of the iceberg.)  And we can see in chapter 3, rebuilding the wall is a huge group effort, inspired by a leader but accomplished by devoted individuals.
Individuals like Uzziel, son of Harhaiah, “one of the goldsmiths”.  And Hananiah, “one of the perfume-makers”.  How easy would it have been for men like these to say, “Wall-building?  Oh, I don’t know nothin’ about wall-building.  That’s just not my calling.  I’m afraid I have to leave that to those who God gifted in that area.”  Nope.  They got in there and figured out how to repair a wall. 
Shallum, son of Hallohesh repaired his section with the help of his daughters.
The men of Tekoa repaired a section, but “their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.”  There will always be those who think they’re too good to do hard work, and to proud to submit to authority; nevertheless, the wall must be built.
Most importantly, I think, were the many, many people Nehemiah lists who simply did the work to repair the section near their own home.  Hear that: we don’t need to go to the jungles of Africa or the inner cities to do the work of God.  There’s work to be done right where you are.  Sometimes the work of fixing your own life has implications beyond what you can see.
We must stop waiting for God to “raise up” a leader to rally the troops to the rebuilding.  If you see the rubble, you have been raised up.  The rebuilding begins with you repairing the breach that leads to your own front door – and me repairing mine.

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