This morning, the Lord took me to Nehemiah Chapter 1. But before I go into that, I need to share a dream I had the night before. Typically, on the nights that God is giving me a prophetic dream, he’ll give it to me right before I wake up.
This particular dream was a bright day. The sky was crisp and blue. The clouds were perfect, white, cotton candy clouds. I was in the dream and I saw white everywhere, and I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Surely I am coming soon.” Then, I watched as the white panned back out to reveal a white robe. As I was following the shape of the robe up and down with my eyes, I noticed the man was barefoot. He was walking up white marble stairs into the clouds. I watched as he went back up into the clouds and disappeared. It was then that I awoke, and there was this overwhelming sense of peace and calm. I thought to myself, “Thank God, it won’t be much longer now.” and then my heart dropped to the thoughts of those who are unaware. They have no knowledge of the signs of the times. They have no knowledge of Jesus. They are lost, hurting, maybe some are hanging on to hope by a thread. And I started to weep.
The Lord took me to Nehemiah, chapter 1: I’m including the passage here:
“The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa,
2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
5 Then I said: “LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.
7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,
9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.
11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.”
Nehemiah went to the king who he served. His sad countenance caused the king to take notice, and Nehemiah bravely asked for permission to be sent back to Jerusalem to rebuild it. He also asked for official letters to deliver to the surrounding areas and to the king’s forest for supplies to rebuild, and military assistance for safe passage. I just want to pause for a moment and say how impressed I was with Nehemiah’s reverence yet boldness to ask for what he needed. The requests indicated that he had given careful thought to what it would take for him to be the one to execute this task. He didn’t sit down and wallow and pray and ask God to “send someone.” He knew that if it was going to be done, if the city he loved, if the promises of God would be restored to the people of Israel, that it would take his buy in and his leadership.
He was serving the king as the cupbearer. In many ways that seems like a very ordinary job, granted, it was cupbearer to the king of Persia, but Nehemiah wasn’t a builder. He was essentially a bodyguard, in that he would test all food and drink before it was given to the king to ensure the king wasn’t being poisoned. He was born in exile. He was not part of the original group of Israelites. He was not part of the group that Daniel, Shadrach, and the others were a part of. While it is obvious that Nehemiah was strong in his faith of God, he was not one who returned with the group of jews who Darius allowed to go back to the promised land. So what does that tell us? That he was content where he was- until. Until he heard that his people were in trouble and that the city’s walls were destroyed.
Significance of the Jerusalem Walls
I found this text from bibletools.org that I wanted to include regarding the significance of walls:
“Sometimes God Himself tears down our walls because of our sins (Isaiah 5:4-5). As Paul puts it, He delivers us to Satan for the destruction of our flesh in the hope we will repent (I Corinthians 5:5). The surest way to restore the wall is through sincere and complete repentance. Playing at the repair job, daubing bits of untempered mortar here and there, will only increase God’s wrath (Ezekiel 13:8-16). Such a wall, lacking God, gives the impression of security but crumbles at the smallest enemy strike. We must be totally committed to restoring.”
So the walls being down equated with God’s hand of judgment that was still over Israel. It was only until Nehemiah came to God in genuine humility and repentance, that God released forgiveness, the plans, and favor to begin and complete the rebuilding of the walls through Nehemiah.
Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem without telling anyone his plans and made a tour of the gates during the night, where he would go unnoticed.
Nehemiah’s nighttime tour of Jerusalem included the following areas:
The Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well: Valleys in the bible are low places. They can be a place of humble service to God, and it’s fitting for Nehemiah, in his humble service to begin at the valley. We have to go through valleys to have mountain tops.
The Dung Gate: Located in the southern part of Jerusalem’s walls, and it was the gate where trash and waste were removed from the city.
The Fountain Gate: Near the pool of Siloam, or the King’s Pool. It is the water from a spring called the Gihon spring or the spring that “bursts forth and gushing”. The Gihon spring was the main source of water for the city of Jerusalem.
There is a lesson in the significance of the gates he visited in the order that he visited them. The pattern is this: enter into service, cleanse or purify yourself from worldliness, and put on Jesus, the holy spirit (living water), the garments of righteousness in Christ. (That’s a word for today’s church right there!)
Faith-filled and Obedient Families Are Critical To Rebuilding
Nehemiah was a planner. Of the remnant that returned, he assigned people, namely families, to work on rebuilding sections of the wall and gates near their homes. Why? Because it cut down on travel time to far parts of the walls and it enabled families to stay in their immediate areas to protect their work, should they be attacked. But what’s the next level interpretation of this? It takes the people of God to repair the breaches and the fallen things in the kingdom of God. Restored walls signify the safety and hand of God over the people, over the church today.
Nehemiah commissioned the priests to rebuild the gates where sacrifices would enter into the temple. It was a work of God, by the people and through the people, so that eventually, the Lamb of God would later enter in.
The Walls of The Church Have Fallen
To be honest, I don’t know when it officially happened. It crept in. We forgot to appreciate the hand and the favor of God over this country. We took our liberties, and our freedom to worship for granted. Many of us became about the thing (church) rather than about the who.
False doctrine with whispers of universalism and secular humanism has crept in while a biblical worldview has diminished. We’ve tolerated things that God calls an abomination in the name of inclusivity. We’ve turned our backs on those in need. We send thoughts and prayers instead of showing up. We’ve stopped with tithes and offerings because our cashflow allocations have priority over advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re bathing in lukewarm water to get our “word from the Lord” every week, expecting to be “fed.” Come to church and get your weekly dose of milk from the Lord. We drop our kids off for “free daycare” so we can have brunch with friends. While we might be an adult in the eyes of the state but we’re disabled infants in the eyes of God. We don’t see with his vision. We don’t perceive what he’s doing in this hour. We don’t know his voice or his word. It’s the “all about you” gospel instead of the “all about Jesus” gospel.
Our walls have fallen. Since quiet-quitting is a thing, the same applies to believers who quiet-quit their faith and relationship with God. And then covid… now, according to statistics from 2022, church attendance is down 45% nationwide.
So how do we repair?
Let’s take some cues from Nehemiah.
- We confess our sins as the body of Christ and repent for the church and our nation. God’s word says in 2 Chronicles 7:13, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. His word also says in 1 Peter 4:17, “For it is time for judgment to begin in the house of the Lord; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
- We remind God (and ourselves) that blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen as His own inheritance. We ask God for grace and mercy to begin again. And we live a life worthy of our calling.
- We DO something about it. We become disciples and we make disciples. We read the word of God, individually, within our family, and collectively as the body of Christ. We talk about it with our children, in our going out and coming in. We fellowship with other disciples. We stand as ambassadors, as intercessors, with a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other, and we REBUILD in every facet of culture today. We represent the kingdom of God in our spheres of influence. We live uncompromised lives- no more lukewarm. No more dead disciple living. Live different. Alive. Brightly lit. Not of this world.
Today I pray that if you’re not at a living church, with other living disciples, or if you’ve strayed from the path that leads to life, that you would return. Ask God to show you your part in rebuilding the fallen walls of our church’s generation. I encourage you to remember the person who led you to Jesus. The person who loved you so much that they invested in telling you about Jesus’ sacrifice for you. What if they didn’t speak up that day? What if they ignored the nudge from God? What if they thought, “She’ll come around when she’s older,”? Where might you be today if it wasn’t for your parents who followed the Lord and made sure you got to church? It’s time we be those people for this generation. SPEAK UP. Don’t ignore the nudge. Live the truth in Spirit and in Truth so that others may find life in Jesus too because surely He is coming soon.