Building walls, making a difference

Nehemiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I love Nehemiah’s willingness to be obedient to God and his heart for seeing God’s people reconnected with Him.

Why was rebuilding the wall so important? What difference did it make?

The wall represented protection and stability. At the time of Nehemiah, Israel and Judah had long since collapsed, and the Hebrews had been exiled into Persia. Many of the exiles had returned to Jerusalem, but they had not rebuilt the wall surrounding the city.

The crumbling wall reflected the Israelites’ broken relationship with the Lord, as well. Nehemiah’s heart was not just for the physical wall to be rebuilt but also for the spiritual relationship to be restored.

Sometimes building a wall can be overwhelming. I’m sure it seemed that way to the Israelites.  We gain, however, a valuable lesson from Nehemiah 3: Everyone needs only to do their part.

From perfumers to priests, rulers to goldsmiths, even the daughters (Nehemiah 3:12), each person did his or her own part in rebuilding the wall.

We find this same principle in the New Testament when it comes to local church bodies: “So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:25).

There’s a second principle we find in Nehemiah for dealing with those who would distract and destroy our efforts: Don’t give in to the “haters.”

Nehemiah responded to those who wanted to keep picking fights and stirring up trouble with these words, “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3).

We have to keep focused on the task at hand. There will always be those who want to stop the work God has called you to do, but we must learn to keep them at bay and be diligent in our obedience to God.

There are so many ways we can be the wall-builders in our communities. I encourage you to consider how you can make a difference.

We are offered this privilege of using our daily lives as a living image of God’s love for others.  We must be about the task of engaging our communities for the message of the Gospel.

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