When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. – Nehemiah 1:4
The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, — Nehemiah 2:4
Under Construction: Walls
Walls are structures that give definition to an area and provide security and shelter. And every human being wants to have the sense of safety that one gets when they meet their basic physiological needs. It is a concept best articulated by America psychologist Maslow who was known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of our psychological well-being connected to fulfilling innate human needs (i.e., food, shelter, and clothing).
The identity and pride of the people of Israel were attached to the wall. Its destruction brought desolation and despair to the land. It was not only that their physiological needs were not being met, but it also has an impact on their sense of fulfillment and self-actualization (another concept in Maslow’s philosophy).
Have you ever been there before? Have you ever felt that something destroyed the walls in your life? Did you ever feel like you lost the sense of security that you once had? Or where you felt like the job, the relationship, your dreams, or something else did not turn out the way you expected? That sense of disappointment can make anyone, even the most assured confident person to question their purpose and their hope for the future.
Everyone, even followers of Christ, at some point in their life must deal with instability, uncertainty, lack of accomplishment and other things that make us feel that we have no walls (structures) in our life.
As Christians, we must realize that we have the resources to rebuild the walls in our life. The story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem gives us insight on how we can fix the things in our personal lives that need to be fixed. We are all under construction. We are all still being shaped and molded.
Here are a few principles that we should focus on to ensure that we have structure and stability in whatever God is calling us to do.
Nehemiah received the news of how bad the city of Jerusalem is doing. He heard the plight of his people and his homeland, and when he heard the news, the scripture says that he “sat down and wept.” He wept because he had a great God-given passion for the plight of his people.
One of the first principles of rebuilding the walls in your life is finding your passion. What things cause you to feel passionate? What has the Lord placed on your heart? What gift do you have that can also help build God’s Kingdom on this earth? Too many people go through life moving from circumstance to circumstance without being intentional about their direction.
Nehemiah’s passion was not just to rebuild the wall for the sake of architecture or aesthetic. He knew that the wall had meaning, deep symbolism and substances to the people of Jerusalem. Because of his passion, God used him to pull off a phenomenal defeat: rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days.
When life is not going the way we want it, it is tempting to move towards action. But notice how Nehemiah wept but after he wept, he did not immediately say “let’s build the walls.” He went to the Lord in prayer.
Prayer gives us perspective and clarity. It gives us an opportunity to be assured that we are moving by the power of the Holy Spirit and not by our flesh.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer (tasted beverages for the King to ensure there was no poison). It was, of course, a risky job to have. It put him in a position of power which became a great strategic location to help him rebuild the walls. It would be the modern equivalent of your boss giving you a leave of absence and financial resources to fulfill your dreams. Wouldn’t that be nice?
God Has the way of putting us in the right position that will provide us the right resources to build the walls of our life.
When Nehemiah started on the journey, he realized that it would not be easy. There was no quick fix. But he also committed to “rebuild the wall”. He was persistence even in the face of enemies attempting to stop him from completing what he set out to do.
What destroyed walls are in your life? What do you need to pray to God about to be rebuilt? Come, let us rebuild the walls through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Pastor John Punni, II