Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What Kind of Walls are You Building? -- Nehemiah

WE BUILD ALL KINDS OF WALLS. Walls to keep people out. Walls to keep people in. Walls to protect. Walls from which we can project. The governor Nehemiah sought to rebuild the physical walls of Jerusalem in about 444 BC. He sought to re-establish the enclosure of safety for the people who were returning to Judah after over 70 years of captivity in Babylon. His task was a huge one...and not everybody was happy about it.

Interestingly, as Nehemiah was getting the people to rebuild the physical walls surrounding Jerusalem, Ezra the priest was beginning to get the people to break down the walls that had been built around their hearts because of the neglect of God's Word. I guess, years before, as one set of walls came down, another set was going up. Both Nehemiah's and Ezra's jobs were important ones. Construction and demolition both needed to take place at the same time in order for the people of Israel to be truly free and safe.

I believe that the church in America today stands in much the same place as the people of God did 2400 years ago. We too need to both build and destroy some walls. I believe that the church needs to rebuild some strong walls of doctrinal and moral purity, using not the bricks and mortar of our culture and traditions as much as the building block of God's Word. I also believe that we need to tear down the walls which have made our hearts hard to the Word of God. That keep us from truly loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and from loving our neighbor as ourselves.

We have both allowed too much in, by way of our consumer/market-driven culture, and we have kept to much out by our selfishness and fear. It is time to do some major reconstruction.

This reconstruction comes as we situate ourselves by the streams of living water, the Word of God, not just to read it, or to study it, but to live it and to know of God and His love and grace through it.

I guess my prayer is that God will give me, give us, hearts like Nehemiah and like Ezra. Oh Lord, so rebuild our hearts!

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