The Jews had been in exile for seventy years and when they returned to Jerusalem, they found a city in ruins. The first group of returnees/exiles were led by Zerubbabel in 538 B.C, the second group was led by Ezra in 458 B.C and Nehemiah led the third group of exiles in 445 B.C. The walls represented power, protection and beauty to the city of Jerusalem. They offered safety from raids and symbolised strength and peace.
What do broken walls represent in our day?
- Broken walls in our day represent broken systems in our politics, economy, education, the church, the family and our individual lives.
- Instead of complaining and wallowing in self-pity, we need to take action.
- Although Nehemiah was deeply grieved about the condition of Jerusalem, he did not brood about it.
How do we repair broken walls of our lives?
- We need to fast and pray. “Prayer is still God’s mighty force in solving problems today. Prayer and action go hand in hand. Through prayer, God guides our preparation, teamwork and diligent efforts to carry out his will.
- Nehemiah used careful planning, teamwork, problem solving and courage to get the work done. Although we are people of faith, we should not neglect good planning and teamwork and effective leadership in doing God’s work.
- We should use our positions to serve God. Nehemiah used his position as the King’s cup bearer to do God’s work.
When the Prophet Nehemiah surveyed Jerusalem, he saw the ruins of a city destroyed by the Babylonians. And just as Jerusalem was in physical ruins, our country continues on a path of spiritual ruin. What can we learn from Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem? What steps should we be taking to rebuild our families, our country Uganda or even our home cell groups? Here are six steps Nehemiah took to rebuild the walls that had crumbled after the previous invasion:
He began with prayer. He prayed for himself, he prayed for his nation and he even confessed the sins of the forefathers who had brought destruction to Jerusalem. In fact, he said he prayed night and day. The burden he had for his city was very clear. He knew that even though the rebuilding of the walls was a physical project, at the end of the day it was only God who would enable them to complete it. He was a desperate man seeking the Lord. We face similarly desperate times, yet the church has largely quit the practice of consistent, deep, pleading corporate prayer. We must ask, “How desperate must the situation become before you begin a ministry of prayer in your church?”
He invited other people to join him (see Nehemiah 2:17). He said, “Let us build the wall.” In other words, he was going to be part of the rebuilding he was called to complete, but he knew that this was a community project. He threw out the invitation to see who among his kinsmen would buy into his vision.
The priests were the first to volunteer (Nehemiah 3:1). Translating that into today’s language, the pastors are to lead the way. We are the gatekeepers for the people whom God entrusts to us.
Whole families were included. There are long lists of families, and the reason they were included is that Nehemiah knew these families had to have a sense of ownership. In fact, each family built their own part of the wall. They were essentially saying, “If the enemy comes in, I don’t want him coming over my part of the wall.” Parents must train their children spiritually in ways that we once took for granted. Parents must be involved to see their loved ones preserved and the larger culture changed.
Nehemiah was not distracted by opposition. From the beginning of his obedience, Nehemiah faced ridicule from Sanballat, Tobiah and their sympathizers. Lies were spoken against him, and a pesky contingent opposed the fact that he was rebuilding the walls. Nehemiah took note of his enemies, but their opposition did not deter him.
Nehemiah resolved injustice and conflicts. He knew that the resolution of conflicts and injustices were necessary in order to continue rebuilding. You will never have a situation in which everything will run flawlessly, and there will nearly always be some level of conflict in any great task. As we see both in our country, and within the church, there is frequent conflict and disagreement. But it us who have known the truth, to stand in the gap.
Contributors: Mr Kamugisha David