Summary: #10 in the Nehemiah series. Being saved and separated unto the Lord isn’t the end of the journey; it’s the beginning. Where do we go from here?
The Book of Nehemiah Series #10
By Pastor Jim May
After Salvation and Separation, What Comes Next?
Nehemiah 7:1-5, "Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed, That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house. Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded. And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,"
The walls of Jerusalem were finally completed. The doors were set in place and the locks and bars were ready. The first great task of Nehemiah was finally completed after 52 days of hard work and persecution. No more could Sanballat stand and say that they could not complete the work. Tobiah had been temporarily silenced and Geshem’s tricks had been discovered and defeated. Nehemiah and his small army of builders, priests and their families had completed the task and now Israel could begin to rebuild as a nation. It had been a long 70-year captivity, and the work on the wall had been hard and dangerous for many weeks, but now the wall was finished.
Those walls that separated Israel from the outside world were in place, but the battles were not over yet.
Even though we may be washed in the Blood of the Lamb, and sanctified by the Word and Spirit, we can’t drop our guard. There is still an enemy out there; an enemy that desires to kill, steal and destroy all they we are.
Sanballat’s attacks against the minds of the Jews had failed. Then his physical attacks were repulsed. And finally the divisions and dissention in the ranks had failed to stop the work. None of the enemy’s tricks would work because God was with Nehemiah as he rebuilt. But Sanballat and Tobiah had not left yet. They would still be a source of trouble for a long time to come.
After the wall was completed a new phase of rebuilding began. The infrastructure had to be rebuilt; everything from shops, to houses, to market places and other needs had to be rebuilt. Let’s remember that Nebuchadnezzar’s army had conquered Israel and had laid waste to Jerusalem and the Temple. The city of Jerusalem was in ruins and the nation had been scattered or carried away as captives into Babylon, and that’s how it was until nearly two generations had passed.
There’s a picture of mankind’s problem in a nutshell. We had a place in God that was built and created as a perfect home. While Adam walked in the Garden, he wanted for nothing, and he had direct communication with God. What a privilege that must have been? Then along came Satan, slithering, sneaking and slinking around, with but one intent – to kill the soul of man, to steal the peace, joy and love that man enjoyed with God, and to destroy that personal relationship with God. Satan knew that the void would be left but he was already poised to fill that void with the things of sin and shame.
Satan doesn’t know have anything to offer that is as valuable as your soul, but he will try his best to offer you whatever you want. Sadly, many people fall into his trap and are led off into captivity. Some quickly turn back to God in repentance and begin to rebuild their wall of separation from the world, while others seem to love being in the world and just refuse to consider where they will spend eternity.
Nehemiah’s construction is a true story but it can also be taken as an allegory of the Christians’ walk with the Lord in this life.
The story of Nehemiah is the picture of a soul that has turned back to God and accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior after having fallen into sin and separation from God. First there has to be a time of reparation. The foundation has to be re-established. Once we have dug down deep and made sure that we are established upon the Rock, and rebuilt our walls to hold the world back, we can stop for a moment, take a breath and then quickly move on. But we can’t stay there for long. We have to keep working, keep building, keep fighting the devil, or we will lose it all again in a short time. Our enemy never quits! Either the Holy Spirit is working in us to make us better and lead us onward in Christ, or we are deteriorating daily in our relationship with Jesus. There’s no rest, no stopping, no loitering; just keep moving on in God.