ODJ: walls

June 20, 2013 

READ: Nehemiah 1:1-4 

The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire (v.3).

Walls are designed to keep people safe. But walls also divide, keeping people apart. The 96 mile (155 km) Berlin Wall kept the East Germans in. The Great Wall of China, which was believed to be 5,500 miles long (8,850 km) and is now estimated to be 13,170 miles long(21,196 km), kept enemies out.

In 586 bc the Babylonians tore down Jerusalem’s walls and destroyed the city. Nehemiah experienced many sleepless nights as he considered the ramifications of the broken-down barriers (Nehemiah 1:4). But what was all the fuss about a broken wall? (v.3). Without the safety and security of the wall, very few Jews wanted to live in the city.

So Jerusalem, the city of God, remained a deserted and dead city, a disgrace and a shame. Her enemies taunted and mocked the people saying that Israel’s God was too weak to protect her (Psalm 79:1-4; Lamentations 2:15-16; Joel 2:17). In fact, lots were cast to force people to relocate to the city (Nehemiah 11:1-2). So it was imperative that the wall be rebuilt so that Jerusalem could once again be the glorious city of God (Psalm 48).

Today we need to be building walls if we’re going to survive and thrive in the broken and dangerous world around us. We need to build a wall of protection to keep us from the attacks of Satan, giving us safety and victory; a wall of separation to keep worldliness out, excelling in our purity and integrity; a wall of devotion to keep and protect our fellowship and communion with God, growing in our spirituality and maturity; a wall of unification to keep God’s people together, dwelling in unity and community.

What about your ‘Jerusalem’? Are your walls torn down and in need of urgent repair? “Let us rebuild the [walls] and end this disgrace!” (Nehemiah 2:17). —K.T. Sim

› John 3:22-36

Ezra 4:6-23 tells of an earlier attempt to rebuild the walls that ended in failure. What might hinder or stop you from rebuilding the walls in your life? 
What are you trying to keep in and what are you trying to keep out with your walls? What walls do you need to rebuild?