This month I am reading the book of Nehemiah. It is such a timely book as we meditate over the Westgate attacks. One of the things God has been convicting about has been over the porous walls of our nation and the porous walls of my personal life, this blog post talks more about this>>before we accept and move onI have felt an urgent need to rebuild the walls that protect my personal life. I have felt that as a nation we must invest in rebuilding the walls of Kenya. I have felt that just as Nehemiah, we need to be moved by the state of our walls that we mourn and fast and seek God’s help in rebuilding this walls. Why? Because unless these walls are securely up again, we shall be attacked by the terrorists of this world again, my personal life shall go through terrorist attacks.
The older jabs
Today as I read through chapter 4, several things stood out for me. This chapter focuses on the opposition in rebuilding the walls.
The first verses: “Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”
Several things stood out as I meditated on these first verses of chapter four. One was that Saballat was angry when he learned that the Israelites were rebuilding the wall. This tells me there are some people whose greatest joy is seeing the walls as dysfunctional, not least of all satan. We must recognize this in our walk. It is easy to imagine that an all rounded walls is a good thing and forget there are those that thrive on the walls being porous.
These enemies of built walls will attempt to mock what we are doing. They will throw jabs at us. Jabs of who do they think they are, jabs of why are they pretending to be holier than thou, jabs of what makes them so special. This dude Saballat chose one of these jabs, a jab that asked who these guys think they are. A jab of do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap? In my world that’s a jab that asks does she really think she can change the world? Does she really think she can be a source of hope for those guys that are written off and holed up in misery? What makes her think that she can spread this gospel? There are many jabs people being used out here. Who tells them they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap?
The reason we must recognize this as just what they are, jabs aimed at discouraging us is that if we do not, we will get side tracked to the jabs and away from our calling. We need to be focused on rebuilding the walls, not the drama around it. I like Nehemiah’s response to these jabs. Then I prayed, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked.
Lesson number 2
At last the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city, for the people had worked with enthusiasm. But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.
My second set of lessons comes from these verses. The first lesson is the enthusiasm with which the people worked, that is always a key ingredient for any successful ministry. Anything less makes the work tiresome. Ever been in a journey that has cheerleaders in, isn’t there a marked difference with one that is barren? Somehow the one with cheerleaders always feels shorter and less druggy. But this lesson is still not my big take out here.
My take out is from how the enemies became furious at the progress made and they made plans to fight Jerusalem and bring confusion.
The enemy is never happy with the progress we make in bringing healing among people and drawing men to their Maker. He will therefore make plans to fight us, many times with the SOLE aim of throwing at us confusion.
Just like the jabs, the AIM here is to get our eyes off the ball; to focus us away from the calling to the fight. I love that the Israelites do not take their eyes off the job, they keep building the wall. I tell you that is hard in the face of all the mockery and discouragement.
The enemy is not happy with the economic progress Kenya has made in the recent past. He will therefore bring about confusion in every way possible to derail us from the onward steps we have made.
I need to be using machetes
But here again I love the response of the Israelites and I learn lots from it. That they prayed to God, but something else sticks out for me, that as they prayed, they guarded the city and protected themselves. The next verses are interesting, they tell of a people who held ‘machetes’ in one hand (I dint know this word was actually English – Machetes, its even on wikipedia) and worked with the other hand. They tell of families that stood guard with swords and spears. They tell of how only half the men worked with the other half stood guard. They tell of how the leaders stationed themselves behind the people building the wall. They tell of laborers who worked with one hand and the other hand held weapons. It ends with these verses:
During this time, none of us—not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water.
What I learn from these guys is many things. One is that I need to take up the machetes of my life. I need to stand guard. You see I get very engrossed with the building of the wall that I forget that we are at war; I cannot build the walls unless I am armed. I am reminded that I need to wear the full armor that I cannot afford to drop off the weapons at any point.
What are my weapons? My weapons are prayer and time spent with God. This is my first and ultimate source; being filled with the Holy Spirit who then battles for me; that’s my greatest trade-off, God fights for me, not my strength, not my strategies, God fights for me. What He requires is I remain in Him; the battle is then His, to not take my eyes off Him and His assignment for me. To like the Israelites keep on working even when the threats and attackers are as many.
My other weapon is being alert, being aware that I may be under attack at any moment and therefore not giving the attackers any room. You see many times I find I am oblivious to the danger, this makes me easy prey.
My other weapon is having leaders and people who stand with me, who will be stationed behind me as I build the wall. I have found this weapon very effective when I am weak and unable to stay alert. I have found that when I am unable to pray, these leaders stand in the gap for me. This wall building is not for a few people to shine, this wall building needs people. So I have learnt to call out for help. To invest in relationships with people who will pray, who will be alert who will stand in the gap for me.
So I am rebuilding my walls
I probably am in that season of rebuilding walls. I saw the enemy throw at me discouragers, this time I swallowed them; this time these discouragers derailed me from my calling. I bought the lie that the Lord has disowned me; I bought the lie that I have out-prayed circumstances in my life to no avail. I faced an enemy of jabs; I bought into the jabs this time. I faced an enemy of detractors, I allowed them in, perhaps just as this our country did. I faced the enemy of my flesh, I gave into the battle. I faced an enemy of flesh led ministry, I fell for it. So my walls are weakened.
But I am praying for the rebuilding of these walls. I am learning that I need to take up all the weapons. I am learning to be alert. I am learning my calling is great; however it will only stand if I wear the full armor. I am learning from experience. I pray you learn from me. One of these days, like Jerusalem, my walls will be up again. I am determined to see that day, coz like Paul this is my calling: However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.