Newsletter January 2018
Rebuilding the wall
And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” (Nehemiah 1:3)
As Nehemiah was serving in Susa in the palace of the Persian king, some men came from Jerusalem and reported to him the state of the city and the plight of their Jewish compatriots who were living among the ruins of that once great city. King Cyrus of Persia had issued a decree allowing the Jews to return home, but the task of rebuilding was great and made even more difficult by the opposition they faced from those who had since taken over their land. When Nehemiah heard the bad news, he immediately turned to God in prayer. He repents of the sin that had led to God’s judgment upon his people and asks the Persian king for permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild its defensive wall.
We too face an enemy, albeit an invisible one. When we look at our lives, our church and our community, we too see distress and reproach. As God’s people, we expect our lives to be blessed and yet we so often feel overcome by the adverse circumstances we face, not realising that our spiritual enemy, the devil, is doing everything to hold us back in our walk with God and experience the life of fullness we have inherited in Christ. Maybe we too need to repent of sins we have committed or simply of our complacency when it comes to matters of God’s kingdom. What are our priorities? What are we doing to rebuild the walls that the enemy has torn down?
Nehemiah’s initial response was to weep, to lament the situation, but his sadness moved him to action. He prayed and soon realised that he himself would be the answer to his prayer. God was calling him to leave the comfort of a foreign king’s palace, where he held the eminent position of cupbearer, and return to Jerusalem to rebuild its dilapidated wall.
What is your response when you see the distress and hardship in your life and in the lives of those around you? Do you simply lament and feel sorrow for yourself? Or do you turn to the Almighty in prayer? Do you recognise that He has called you to labour in prayer to rebuild what the enemy has destroyed?
As every New Year, our church will begin 2018 with a focus on prayer. There will be prayer meetings locally and nationally where we can come together to pray and fast. However, let us not be limited to those meetings; let us seek God in our own homes in our own time. Let us experience God’s victory in Christ as we tap into His power through concerted prayer. Before Jesus went to the cross He said to His disciples, “…the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30). Let us share in Jesus’ victory that He purchased for us when He disarmed principalities and powers, [and] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in [the cross]. Let us stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11b) and, through persistent prayer, build God’s wall of protection around ourselves, our church and around all those the Lord is calling in our community.