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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Nehemiah Saw the Real Problem with the Walls in Jerusalem

Image from TripAdvisor.
One day, Nehemiah asked Hanani and company about the exiles that had returned to Judah. They had been to Jerusalem and witnessed the situation for themselves. They told him: "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”


How the Problem is Seen

Hanani and company understood the problem to be physical. The wall structure had been broken down, and because of that the Jews there were in big trouble and disgrace. Even today, many people cannot see beyond the natural. They see their need for a church building (or repair of the same), low attendance or church income, lack of musical instruments, or lack of good church programs. But Nehemiah saw the real problem at once. He prayed:
Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'
The problem really was spiritual. Specifically, they were unfaithful and neglected their connection with God and His Word. In this condition, your "walls" are down. You have no protection. After his prayer, God started moving supernaturally, making things workout for good to those who love him. Particularly, he moved the heart of King Artaxerxes to sponsor everything. Nehemiah didn't beg or send the king solicitation letters or ask him for donations. God arranged it so that the king noticed Nehemiah's sad face.


Once we say the right prayer---after assessing the problem using God's way of seeing things---God moves heaven and earth to address the need. Hanani and company saw the need to re-construct the wall. Nehemiah saw the need to repent from sins.
I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
Our Bodies as the Temple 

Today, the "temple" is not anymore the religious structures we put up (which we call "church"). Jesus formally ended this concept of a "temple" when he declared "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." He meant his body, not the temple structure---though the spiritually short-sighted thought he was referring to the temple building. Today, many Christians share their idea. They still think of the church as a building, though they claim it is not.

And today, the "walls" are not anymore literal structural walls. It's the spiritual thing that protects and binds us together as one in Christ. When we neglect close relationship with God and His Word, that protection or covering is down and we are in big trouble and disgrace spiritually. In effect, the devil sees how we're really powerless despite our pretended spirituality.

When applying Nehemiah's principle to today's church, we should see everything in the eyes of God. Many people think the problem of the church is its material lack. Or its lack of good programs or strategies or facilities or buildings or income or large numbers of members. That's the propensity of the natural man---failure to see beyond the natural. What they always see is the material lack.

But everything is really basic---once the church neglects close intimacy with God and depth in his WORD, everything is wrong, no matter if things look good in the natural. Many churches pursue evangelism and become too engrossed in it in their desire to up the membership and church income. In the process, they often neglect intimacy with God and depth in the Word.

We need to share the Gospel with people but we should do so with genuine intimacy with God so we can be a true witness. Sharing the Gospel without really knowing God upclose is as good as telling lies. "A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful," [Proverbs 14.25].

What often happens is that preaching and teaching is shallow and merely compensated with extravagance in worship, which is presented as more of entertainment than a deep spiritual moment with God. What preaching and teaching they have are limited to human theology plus some motivational challenges.

In contrast, the spiritual always seek refuge in God's revealed and spoken WORD, the Word (which Jesus said) proceeds out from the mouth of God. The real problem today is that very few churches take repentance and holiness seriously or have the spoken WORD of God revealed to them in real time by the Holy Spirit. Nothing is supernaturally of God anymore. Everything you see in church is of man. Everything is synthetic.

Very few church folks today really study the bible and what they get is often merely the written or printed Word, which kills. The bible says the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. The real problem is most churches starve spiritually, unable to get the spoken, revealed WORD---though they get fed with a lot of religious stuff. With this scenario, the "walls of Jerusalem" are down, there's no protection, and the church is in great trouble and disgrace.

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