More Than Conquerors - Dave Smith

God Said To Build The Wall

May 2019

“And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me, neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem.” — Nehemiah 2:12

There were several reasons why God told Nehemiah to build the walls around Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a reproach (Neh. 1:3) and was described as lying in waste (Neh. 2:3) because its walls were broken down and its gates were burned. This is why Nehemiah was sad and sorrowed of heart (Neh. 2:2) which resulted in his weeping, mourning, fasting, and praying (Neh. 1:4).

The first reason was that with the walls broken down and the gates burned, there was no way the city could be protected; it was indefensible. Anyone could go in and out at any time he wanted. People could steal whatever they wanted or bring in dangerous things whenever they wanted, and it would be difficult to stop them. All control and accountability had been done away with. The people were not safe from robbers, gangs, or wild animals, so there was no peace, security, or order. The walls would provide these protections, and the gates could be used to control who came in and out. These are the same reasons why people have walls and doors in their buildings and houses. This is also why buildings, houses, and cars have locks. A building that is abandoned can be entered into more easily and things inside destroyed, stolen, and used for all kinds of dangerous activities.

The second reason was to protect the temple that had already been rebuilt. This included its physical and spiritual protection. The temple included valuable pieces of furniture and utensils, and without walls and gates it was impossible to keep them from being stolen. More important was the spiritual protection of the temple. This is what Nehemiah is referring to when he told Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem that they had “no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem” (Neh. 2:20). Sanballat, whose name means “the enemy is secret,” was governor of the province of Samaria. Tobiah was governor of the province of Ammon in Transjordan. He had also married the daughter of the high priest, Shechaniah (Neh. 6:18) and allowed to live in a room in the temple. Geshem was a chief who governed the province of Arabia. Since they were all enemies of the Israelites, they could have no involvement in what the Israelites were doing.

Third, since the temple represented the presence of the Lord, it had to be spiritually separated from the world, false doctrine, and idolatry. The world is the system of lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I Jn. 2:16) that is totally opposed to the things of God. In fact, anyone who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God (James 4:4). The church cannot allow the mixture of truth with false doctrine because it will destroy the truth (Matt. 16:6-12). This is why Jesus likened false doctrine to leaven because it infiltrates and changes the dough it is mixed with (Gal. 5:9; Matt. 16:6-12; Lk. 12:1). Since false doctrine had led to the idolatry of the Israelites, which caused their defeat, captivity, and enslavement, Nehemiah knew it had to be excluded.

Finally, Jesus talked about a sheepfold—a structure to protect sheep from thieves and predators. The wall was made high enough so that animals or people could not jump or climb over it. The door was the only way into the sheepfold, and it was controlled by the shepherd or porter. Jesus said that anyone who tried to get into the sheepfold by any way other than the door was a thief and a robber (Jn. 10:1), and they were coming to steal, kill, and destroy the sheep for their own selfish purposes (Jn. 10:10).

This is why God told Nehemiah to build the wall. In the next issue of The Evangelist, we will explore the tremendous opposition that Nehemiah and his people experienced while trying to build the walls of Jerusalem.

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