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 Rebuilding Broken-down Walls by Lois J. Stucky


In today’s society can be seen all around us what we might consider "broken-down walls" spiritually speaking – sadly and seriously affecting individuals, families, local churches, the community and the nation…. It may be that hope of restoration seems dim.

Let us consider briefly a familiar story in the Book of Nehemiah which quickens faith to believe that even as literal broken-down walls can be rebuilt, God is able to rebuild spiritually "broken-down walls." When Nehemiah, a Jewish captive serving in the palace of King Artaxerxes of Persia, learned that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and its gates burned with fire, he took it very much to heart. He mourned over the fact that the place where God had chosen to place His Name was in deplorable condition and the people who had gone there to re-establish worship to His great Name were in distress, bringing reproach upon themselves as well as upon God. Nehemiah gave himself to fasting and prayer, repenting for the sins of the nation which had brought this about.

God heard Nehemiah’s impassioned pleas. Under the good hand of God upon him, Nehemiah’s request to travel to Jerusalem to help the afflicted remnant rebuild and remove the reproach was granted by King Artaxerxes. The king furthermore provided materials to assist Nehemiah in the task. After arriving in Jerusalem and appraising the situation, Nehemiah exhorted the people: "Let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach." The people’s response was, "‘Let us rise up and build.’ So they strengthened their hands for this good work" (2:17-18). When the enemies laughed them to scorn and despised them, Nehemiah’s positive statement of faith was, "The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build" (vv. 19-20).

The enemies sought in devious ways to intimidate Nehemiah and stop the building but the Jewish people had a mind to work. They called on God to strengthen their hands and to deliver them from fear of the enemies. As threatenings and opposition against them increased, some worked with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other (4:17). They were confident that God would fight for them (4:20). So diligent were they at watching and working that for a time some did not put off their clothes except to wash them (4:23). The leaders among them and their co-workers repaired next to one another on their assigned section until even the gates were rebuilt and in place and barred at night. When the enemies learned that the wall was built without any breaks in spite of all they had done to stop it, they were dismayed at their failure to stop the rebuilding and perceived that the great work was wrought by the God of the Jews (6:16)! The Jews, including wives and children, gathered to dedicate the wall and to praise and thank God. The rejoicing was so great it "was heard even afar off" (12:43).

Take heart, reader friend, if there is some "broken-down wall" grieving you deeply. It may seem a hopeless situation. Go to God’s Word and take a fresh grip of faith on Him and His promises to enable you to arise and build. He is faithful to help us first of all examine our own hearts and lives to see if repentance on our part may be needed. Amid today’s extreme busyness, our fellowship with the Lord may have cooled off. See Revelation 3:15-21. God is eager to help when we humble ourselves and call earnestly upon Him and trust Him for His almighty enabling and undertaking.

One of the taunts the enemies flung at Nehemiah and the Jews was, "…will [you] revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?" (Neh. 4:2). Today the enemy Satan taunts God’s people with discouraging thoughts about expecting God to revive individuals, families, churches, even nations. With the urgent need of revival today, and the great possibilities of revival if we meet God’s conditions, might God’s people have a mind to work and to pray for it! What glory will come to God if we meet His conditions and He breaks forth in mighty power, transforming hearts, homes, churches, communities and even nations!


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