For the past twelve months I have been putting the on-line teaching of Ellel 365 into book form as Journey to Freedom. Hence the recent absence of Blog entries! With six volumes already out and only two more to go, I’m feeling liberated to write again!
In Chapter 2 of his book, Nehemiah describes arriving back in Jerusalem, after receiving his commission to rebuild the walls and gates of the city. It was, at first, a secret mission, “I had not told anyone what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem.”
Nehemiah knew that If the city was to be restored as the city of God’s people, the very first objective had to be the repair of the gates and the restoration of the walls. Only when the walls and the gates were secured would it be safe for the people to live there. So, he surveyed the walls, assessed the damage and made a plan. He then told the leaders what he had come to do and said, “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”
As I was reading, I sensed the Lord speaking directly to me about his church and saying, “The walls of my church are broken down and its gates have been destroyed. My people are no longer living in safety. The time has come to survey the walls, assess the damage and rebuild. Only then will my people be able to live in safety and be protected by walking in my ways, according to the truth of My Word.”
Nehemiah knew that the work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem would be opposed, as was soon demonstrated by the mocking intervention of Sanballat and his friends. So, Nehemiah taught the people to work with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other, to resist the attacks of an enemy while continuing to build the wall. And so it was that, with a carefully orchestrated plan, the walls and the gates of Jerusalem were restored.
Nehemiah records that “The work was completed in fifty two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realised that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
I believe that God wants to see the walls and the gates of His church restored. The popular image of today’s church is largely of an imploding organisation with little respect and no significant influence on society or government. But is this surprising when so much of the church itself has lost respect for the authority of God’s Word and has chosen to tread the easy road of compromise, instead of the upward path of spiritual integrity? The foundations are shaken, the gates have been torn down, the leaders have lost their fire and the flock has been scattered.
This is a day when, I believe, God is looking for a new generation of Nehemiahs, people who will carefully survey the walls of His church, see where they have been broken down and start to rebuild. It is time for the people of God to regain their confidence in God’s truth and, once again, for the church to become a place where the people of God will be safe from the inroads of the enemy. And the gates of the church will become a doorway of hope for those who are looking for answers, to both the big issues and the needs of ordinary people who are struggling to make sense of life in a godless society. Yes, there will be mocking opposition, but since when has opposition to the truth been a reason for abandoning it!