Examining the Wall
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” Nehemiah 2:17 (NIV)
The Temple in Jerusalem had been rebuilt, but the walls surrounding the Temple remained in ruins. The threat of another attack would come quickly unless someone had the courage to begin reconstruction of the wall. When our lives fall apart and we face the rubble, we often begin to wonder what went wrong and examine the mistakes and decisions we made. Nehemiah loved the people of Israel and wanted to rebuild the city where his fathers were buried. He was more brokenhearted over the disgrace and trouble Israel faced than the opposition he would face in rebuilding the Temple wall. Nehemiah’s first response was to weep, pray, and fast while asking God for favor to rebuild the Temple wall. What a great reminder of the importance of weeping and repenting over our sin and examining our mistakes before we begin the process of rebuilding our broken lives.
It’s difficult to live in this broken world and to sift through the rubble of brokenness to find the hope to rebuild our lives. I believe there is a connection between the depth of brokenness and time it takes to muster up the courage to rebuild. I’ve never met anyone who has been broken desire to experience that pain again. If we long to live in freedom and under God’s protection, we must examine what caused our lives to shatter.
It is wise to live surrounded by walls. Walls are for our protection. We also face risks in life, and those will be determined by which walls we place our trust in for protection. We can build walls out of many different things, but the greatest building block we can use is truth. Truth is freedom. Truth is strong. Anything else we surround our lives with will put us in danger of being destroyed.
The most dangerous wall of protection we can build is that of half-truth. I’ve seen more lives destroyed from half-truth than from pure lies. Half-truth is difficult to see. The cracks lies make are filled with half-truth. As you look back on your brokenness—a time your life fell apart—what were you depending on to you keep safe? Did you believe the truth, half-truths or lies?
We must do exactly what Nehemiah did: confess our sins, repent and then ask God to show us the mistakes that put our lives in jeopardy. If we don’t examine our past mistakes, we’ll be in danger of making the same mistakes and and rebuilding the same walls that didn’t protect us in the first place. It’s never too late to begin rebuilding our walls so we can live in the freedom, peace, and comfort God desires for us. Jesus is truth and our lives should be surrounded by and safe in Him.
- If time permits, read the entire book of Nehemiah. If not, read and concentrate on the first four chapters of Nehemiah.
- Reflect on a time when your life appeared to be threatened by someone or something and ask yourself what allowed that someone or something to enter inside your walls?
- Are you willing to weep, repent, fast and pray over past mistakes? Why or why not?
- It’s difficult to be humbled, but until we come to the place and allow God to humble us, we’ll never be willing to admit the role we played in not seeking the wisdom we needed to protect ourselves from danger.
Remember, it’s never too late to begin rebuilding your life. Nehemiah didn’t return to rebuild the Temple walls until 13 years after Ezra had rebuilt the Temple.