Let every man take heed how he builds. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ.
TEXT: Nehemiah 2; 4:1-9
The word “RE” means again in a different way i.e. doing something again. While “building” is to erect, to construct a structure e.g. house, bridge, fence, etc. The word building connotes the art or process of erecting structures; it also involves increasing and strengthening a structure.
The word broken mean something that is Infirm, crushed, thrown into disorder, altered in direction, shattered in health, Spirit, estate or position, while wall is an erection of brick, stone or security to enclose a space, its fortification, defense, security, barriers and protection.
In the context of this topic-rebuilding the broken walls would mean restoring the foundational values, which over the years have been eroded or lost, due to our shift in emphasis. The resultant effect of having a broken wall is too grave for anyone to toy with. This topic applies appropriately to this era of Christendom as the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent.
The objectives of this study are:
- To examine Nehemiah’s reaction to the news concerning Jerusalem.
- To highlight “broken walls” in Christendom today and how we should react to them.
- To discuss the strategies used by the enemies to hinder the rebuilding of broken walls.
- To identify the strategies, we can put up to rebuild the broken walls.
- Discuss the blessings in rebuilding the broken walls.
Q1. WHAT WAS NEHEMIAH’S REACTION TO THE NEWS CONCERNING JERUSALEM? (Nehemiah 1:2-7)
The Jews, as prophesied, were in captivity and while there, most of them had assured Babylonia as their home, and were contented ass slaves and servants. While in captivity Nehemiah found himself in the palace, i.e. close to the authority. Despite the comfort that the Palace offered, he had a yearning and compassion for his home and was not in any way derail or overtaken by the comfort of the Palace. To show his overwhelming passion, he asked after the state of his beloved city Jerusalem when the opportunity showed up.
When Nehemiah Learnt that his people were in great affliction and the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins, he
mourned and rose to the challenge.
In his reaction, he wept, mourned, fasted and prayed; he reminded God that he was a covenant-keeping God. He prayed for God’s mercies and was persistent in his prayers (twice- day and night). He also confessed not only his personal sins, but that of his nation. His deep sorrow for his wasted land was hidden. He knew the right request to make and was not self-centered, but was for the fulfilment of God’s purpose. He later got the King’s authority to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the broken walls and he restored the people spiritually. It must be noted that Nehemiah knew God as his God, based on personal encounter (Neh. 1: 8c).
Another thing that could be learnt from the experience of Nehemiah is that, he kept and meditated on what God had put in his heart: (Neh. 1:12). He also arose and did something by taking appropriate actions and was not a wishful thinker. Lastly, he was able to identify those of like minds to which he revealed God’s purpose and was able to resist the enemy of his vision. In his commitment to God, he exhibited leadership qualities that led to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days, He was a man of faith and determination.
Q2. WHAT COULD LIKELY BE TERMED “BROKEN WALLS” IN CHRISTENDOM TODAY AND HOW SHOULD WE REACT TO THEM?
Some areas where we could be experiencing “broken walls” in Christendom today are:
A) Foundational Problem.
The scripture says if the foundation is destroyed what can the righteous do (Psalm 11:3). The foundation is very important in the erection of a wall, the builder must start from the foundation. In Matt. 7:24-27, both the wise and foolish builders built probably the same structures but there was great difference in their foundation; while one’s foundation was on the rock, the other build upon the sand. Both buildings were eventually exposed to the same challenges of rains, floods, and winds beating upon the buildings and while one was able to resist and remained standing, the other fell greatly.
In Nigeria, Christianity in the early 1970’s was marked with seriousness; a Christian then, chose to be a Christian not because others responded to altar-call, but was personally convinced to give his/her life to God. Then, a repenting unbeliever wept at the altar and meant the sinner’s prayers he said, there was also determination to live as a believer. There was great hunger and desire to know God which made such a person to wait on the Lord in fasting and prayers, and these led to deep rooted belief in God and His ability. Today because form the time one responded to the altar call, the new life is treated with levity and without seriousness; the sinner’s prayer is said mostly as a matter of formality. The sinner has no value for the new life he has found hence it is easy to compromise. Since he is not rooted in the word, he falls easily to all sort of trials and temptation, and become an easy prey to the devil.
B) The Sin Problem.
Due to the poor foundation, sin is not seen as seen rather, it is treated with levity and accommodated. Brethren often make excuse for their short comings by covering, instead of renting their hearts before God and ask for his mercy; they even point at other presumed men of God doing worst things. It must be noted that the sin issue has been a problem in Christendom, but the manner in which it is being condoned in the present-day church is different. In scriptures and before our present generation, men rented their hearts with deep godly sorrow when they fall into sin; today, it is not so. While sin was publicly rebuked and need for salvation and heaven was emphasized, the center focus of today’s messages is about physical prosperity and blessings, all in bid for preachers to keep the crowd in their congregation. Preachers become silent on issue of sin and few that preach on this topic are sometimes careful and meticulous in doing so. Increase of sin and sinful practices is the hallmark of some new generation churches.
C) Lack of Power
The eyes of God are too pure behold sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Due to the sin issue discussed above, the presence and power of God as it was mightily experienced by the early church and in the 1970’s to 1980 is absent from today’s church.
D) Lack of Voice/Relevance in the Nation’s Affairs
In scriptures, due to the mighty presence and power of God that was in the Church, its relevance in national matters could not be relegated to the background. The prophets and the priests were feared, obeyed as they directed the affairs of the nations. Kings could entrust their decision and actions based on the advice of the men of God as such advice, instructions and prophesies were most reliable and dependable. Today, much is left to be desired in this regard concerning the Church.
E) Lack of Elders in the Faith
Another “broken wall” evidenced in today’s church is the fact that there is a dearth of elders in the faith who are to act as role models to mentor others to be like Christ. Elders who ought to be branches have today made themselves the vine, and instead of directing people to the Lord, they now rather cherish being worshipped and some have turned themselves to mini-gods. Nehemiah was a leader who led by actions and not words alone. Christianity today needs men and women that will lead us as godly examples.
F) Increase in False Doctrines, Heresies, and Worldliness:
This is a major broken wall I today’s Christianity as a sign of the end of time. Men now have itching ears wanting to hear only what will please them; false doctrines, teachings, and heresies are on the increase with all sort of prayers, books, anointing oil, and the likes on the increase. Worldliness is the order of the day as there seems not to be any difference between a Christian and an unbeliever in words, conducts, dressing and general lifestyle.
**The Class should mention others, on hos we should react to these “broken walls” of our time.
The today’s believer who has heaven in focus should react to these issues, take heed and be determined to denounce the hidden works of dishonesty and rebuild all broken walls in his/her life. There should be a return to the basics as prescribes by the word of God.
Q3 WHAT ARE THE STRATEGIES WE CAN PUT UP TO REBUILD THE BROKEN WALLS? (NEH. 2:11-18; 4:4-6; PROV. 4:20-21, GAL 6:1-2, MATT 5: 13-16; HEB 12:14; MATT 10:16)
Nehemiah did not set out to rebuild the broken walls by his own strength. He reminded God of His word through His servant Moses (Neh. 1:8). We must base the rebuilding of our broken walls upon the word of God and Godly principles, as there can be no rebuilding of broken walls outside God. Prov. 4:20-21 admonishes us to study and live by the word. This could be said to be the difference between the two builders in Matt 7:24-27. Jesus likened “Whosoever that heareth and does this saying is a wise man that built on the rock while the foolish man who built on sand was he that heard the word of God and refused to do it.” Nehemiah prayed and of course, the place of fervent, persistent prayers in rebuilding our broken wall is strongly advocated (Neh. 1:4). We must, like Nehemiah realize we have our broken walls and repent sincerely and genuinely. We must have at the back of our mind that heaven is an individual race and not a congregational race. We must therefore seek to know God for ourselves individually as we try to help as many as we can to do the same. Sin must not be toiled with and we must live an exemplary life as Christians. Just as Nehemiah set up a watch, day and night, the believer is to be watchful and vigilant. (Neh. 4:9, 1Pet 5:8). We as believers must stand out for what we believe at all times even if it means standing alone. To rebuild our broken walls, we must know and carry with us the consciousness that we are light to brighten the dark world as we point the world to Christ, and that we are salt to sweeten, preserve and give taste to our world. The believer must know he is Jesus that men see today. Matt.5:13-16.
The place of holy living is a major strategy to rebuild our broken walls. There must be a determination to live for Christ at all times, in all situations.
Q4 IN LINE WITH THE ENEMIES OF THE JEWS TO THE WORK OF REBUILDING THE WALLS, WHAT ARE THE TODAY’S CHRISTIAN ENEMY AND THEIR STRATEGIES AGAINST RE-BUILDING THE BROKEN WALL? (Neh. 2:19; 4:7-23; 1Pet 5:8)
The devil is the arch enemy of the church. He does not come physically to commit havoc in and against the Church, but he uses his demons and human agents. These come in form of friends, church members, co-workers, etc. and they are everywhere seeking for the slightest opportunity to perform their devilish acts. For Nehemiah and his workers, Samballat and Tobiah wore them out, mocked them and despised their efforts. For us, it may come in the form of laziness in prayers and study of God’s word, decreased enthusiasm in fellowship with the brethren, etc. and the main aim is to make the believer complacent and then to compromise his faith and eventually miss heaven. But like Nehemiah and his workers who are battle-ready as they worked, today’s Christian should put aside all sorts of distractions and run the heavenly race with determination to make it amidst all oppositions. The weapon of biblical prayers is emphasized for victory in life battles.
Q5 NEGLIGENCE AND REWARDS OF REBUILDING THE BROKEN WALLS (PROV.11:30; GAL 6:7-8; EPH 5:27; 6:8)
Eccles. 10:8 clearly states that he that breaks the hedge the serpent shall bite. The serpent which connotes the enemy can only gain entrance to the believer when the hedge is broken, hence the Christian must be on guard. The effects of not re-building the broken walls are too grave to joke with. Such a believer lives a life of compromise, goes through life struggles without the help of the Holy Spirit and above all, stand in the danger of eternity in hell fire. Whatsoever a man sows, he reaps. There is a place for reaping either in corruption or life everlasting.
The blessings are enormous—the serpent has no easy access to such a believer hence cannot bite him/her. When our broken walls are re-built, we are better Christians equipped for God’s use and glory here on earth, we have the help and assistance of the Holy Spirit, and are prepared to spend eternity with God. When you encourage another person to stand, a soul has been won into eternity with God in heaven and the blessings of winning a soul will not elude you.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION:
Nehemiah was a captive taken to Babylon when Israel was invaded, he was a captive that did not bemoan his situation but followed God and the events in his country. We should like Nehemiah love God and God’s people. In doing that, we should use whatever position we occupy to glorify God. We should not allow fear to prevent us from taking bold steps for the Lord. We must decide to make ourselves available for God’s use as we should show concern in building people not only physically, but most especially, spiritually. The place of prayers in the success of our Christian race amidst opposition is advocated. Christianity today should not be about congregation only, nut every believer should take heed to ensure he/she is in a right standing with God.
“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.”