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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Zac Poonen ~ Concern for God's name

Nehemiah was one of the men God used in the movement of His
people from Babylon to Jerusalem. He lived about 70 years
after Zerubbabel, Joshua, Haggai and Zechariah. The temple
had been built and Ezra had already gone to Jerusalem -
about 13 years earlier.

The burden God had given Haggai, Zechariah and Zerubbabel
was to build the temple. Ezra's burden was to teach people
the word of God. But Nehemiah's burden was to build the
walls of Jerusalem, organize the city's administration, and
bring people back to the covenant that they had forsaken. He
was a reformer. Spiritually, he was a man of vision and
prayer. Practically, he was an organizer and a motivator. So
he had all the qualities that were required in a leader of
God's people at such a time as this.

Nehemiah was living in Susa, the capital of the world's only
super-power of those days - the Medo-Persian empire - and
was on the personal staff of its king, Artaxerxes.

In Nehemiah Chapter1:1-3. When Hanani and other Israelites
came to Susa from Judah, Nehemiah was concerned enough to
find out the state of the exiles who had returned and of
Jerusalem. This is the primary characteristic of any man
whom God uses - he has a concern for people and then God
gives him a burden. If you want to serve the Lord, begin
with a concern for others. God never uses a man who has no
concern for others. Nehemiah asked Hanani, "How are things
going on there?" And Hanani told him that the walls were
broken down and the gates burned with fire.

In Isaiah.60:18, we read that the walls of Jerusalem
symbolize salvation and the gates symbolize praise.

The walls speak of separation from the world and of
security. God wants the church to be separate from the
world. The walls have to be high, so that a worldly-minded
person cannot join the church. To be a part of Jerusalem,
one has to be a disciple, one who loves Jesus more than
anything else on earth. Throughout the last 20 centuries,
preachers have lowered the standards that Jesus and the
apostles laid down, so that now the walls are so low, that
anyone can jump over the wall and come in. Jesus once said
that one who climbed over the wall and came in was a thief
(Jn.10:1). There is a way to come in - through the gate -
and the gate to Jerusalem is very narrow. But preachers have
lowered the standards so that the wall of separation is now
very low. In some places, the wall is broken down
completely, so that there is no difference between the
church and the world. In fact, many worldly people behave
much better than many so-called "believers". That is a what
a church with broken-down walls is like.

The gates symbolize the spirit of victorious praise that
must always be found in the church. The gates are also the
place where the elders of the city sit - the place of
authority. The church today has lost the spirit of
victorious praise and it has very few men with spiritual

Nehemiah was concerned about the broken walls and the burnt
gates. When he heard the news, he wept and mourned for many
days, and he fasted and prayed. That is the type of man whom
God is looking for today - one who has a concern and a
burden when he sees the condition of God's church.

When was the last time you mourned, not for sorrows of your
own, but because the church of Jesus Christ is in such a
pathetic condition today? When was the last time you fasted
and prayed because you were concerned that the name of Jesus
should be glorified in the church of Jesus Christ today? But
if we don't have a concern in our hearts, we will never be
the men and women that God wants us to be.

Nehemiah lived under the old covenant. He did not have the
Holy Spirit dwelling in him, as we have. He did not have a
full Bible, no church-fellowship, books, tapes or
conferences such as we have today in such abundance. He did
not know anything about the cross. Yet he had such a
tremendous burden. He was not a "full time worker". He was a
man who had a secular job. He supported himself and served
the Lord. Nehemiah is a great example of a man who was
absolutely selfless and who was concerned for the glory of
God's Name alone. If we can be challenged to emulate his
example, God may be able to do something with our lives too.

Mike Balog

 2006/6/30 8:58Profile

Joined: 2005/7/20
Posts: 671
Los Angeles, California

 Re: Zac Poonen ~ Concern for God's name

That was great Mike! Thank you for posting it.

Patrick Ersig

 2006/6/30 9:31Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Concern for God's Name

Hi Patrick,

Amen! That we had more concern for God's namesake, for the Lord Jesus Christ

Mike Balog

 2006/7/1 0:37Profile

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