Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Rebuilding The Walls Of Our Life
Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach."
Tuesday night Bible study at Rapha found is tackling the book of Nehemiah. If ever there was a book in the Bible that totally describe the journey of recovery, it is this book.
Nehemiah was given the task by God to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls which had been destroyed during a siege by a foreign Army which resulted in the captivity of its inhabitants.
During Nehemiah's day, the wall of a city was a source of national pride, as well as providing a sense of protection from invading forces. What had once been a source of pride was now broken, full of holes where the enemy had breached the walls. The gates of the city had been burned and torn down. Such a state as this allowed the enemy to come and go at will into the city, looting and taking everything.
Now God has given the word to rebuild.
In addiction, we have allowed the walls of our life to be breached by our enemy. We have had the gates burned and given free reign to our enemy to move in and out of our lives, taking whatever they will. We no longer are able to protect or fend off any attack by the one who seeks to destroy us.
Before you can rebuild, you have to take inventory to see the extent of the damage that has occurred. The kind of damage I'm talking about is internal. Character defects that fuel our enemies passion to destroy us. Those broken down places in our decision making that is fueled by a sin/nature that drives us to continue the destruction.
In verse 13, we see Nehemiah begin the inventory:
And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse (Dung) Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire."
So what do we see in this verse?
#1- Nehemiah starts the inventory by moving through the Valley Gate....at night.
So Nehemiah is going to take inventory by moving through the darkness. Step #4 is about going to the dark places in our lives and in hearts. The places we don't really want to take a look at. The attitudes and behaviors that we want to ignore because to focus on them is too painful. But every inventory has to start somewhere, ours begins in the darkness and hardness of our hearts.
#2 - The first place Nehemiah goes to is the "Serpents Well"...Isn't the life and behavior of someone in addiction is to drink long and deep from the Serpents Well? The Devil's well? We drink long and hard from something that has promised to quench our thirst. Truth is, it only leaves us dry and empty begging for more.
#3- Notice also that the Serpents Well is located just outside the Dung Gate. Well,we could have a go at this part of the verse for a long time. Suffice it to say that drinking from the devil's well is a bunch of crap. Nuff said.
Next comes Verse 14:
Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but there was no room for the animal under me to pass.
Hmm, let's see here. We've done an inventory at the Serpent's Well, as we moved through the Valley Gate (Yea, though I walk through the VALLEY of the shadow of death), passing through the Dung gate. Now we are moving on to what I see is the answer to that first verse we read.
Nehemiah finds himself at the Fountain Gate. A source of water that will not disappoint.
Jesus tells us in John 4:14: "But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water I shall give him will become in him FOUNTAIN of water springing up into everlasting life." Notice what is located near this Fountain Gate....the KING'S POOL. Hmmm....king.....royalty.....Lord....Jesus...could this be a symbol of where the promise of real life that is free and clear from the bondage of addiction is found?"
Also take a look at the problem that Nehemiah encountered as he approached this location. "There was no room for the animal under me to pass." In other words, Nehemiah had to dismount and lead his ride through the passage.
Matthew 7:13-14- Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there be few who find it.
It is true....it is a narrow path that leads from addiction to life with Christ. But once you enter in, that path opens up into a spacious glorious life that you've dreamed of. One that no longer becomes something that always seems to be out of reach. It becomes the life that is free from the destruction and damage of our selfish thinking and sinful nature. And it is available to any and all who answer Jesus' invitation to come and drink from His fountain.
Call me silly, but that is some kind of good.
God on you...