RISING FROM THE RUBBLE; MEDITATIONS IN NEHEMIAH
Here, an apprentice learns from a master builder, the skills of repairing a broken spiritual relationship with God, and the keys to a strong Christian life, fortified against the enemy.
And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burnt with fire.
And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The reporters brought a solemn and sorrowful report. The remnant, the remaining Jews in the city that were not captured, they were in 1) affliction, 2) reproach.
Affliction, trouble, and distress are often the consequences of backsliding and walking away from God. I have personally experienced it to be so. In fact, they are not only often the consequences, they are the natural result. The only reason why the affliction is not as great is often because of God’s great mercies and love. Yet, when I am in affliction, it is only because of God’s love as well, that wants to bring me yet closer back to Him! Affliction is God’s loving call to His prodigal son to head home!
It has the idea of being cast aside. Walking out of God’s will has us feeling that God no longer has a plan for us, but it is only because we choose not to follow that plan. Like affliction, reproach is also a natural result of not following Christ. This reproach, however, in the nation of Israel’s situation, was the reproach of the world, the nations around. Similarly, though I try to be like the world and compromise, in the latter end, I will face the world’s reproach, for I cannot fully embrace their values and ideologies. The only way out is to return to Christ!
The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down. This depicts how bad the situation is. When I give in to the world and follow it, my defences are gone. The spiritual walls are broken down and there is no protection against evil. I am prone again to Satan’s attacks, and powerless to resist. At every attack, my only hope is to raise the white flag of surrender, and give in to sin yet once again.
And the gates thereof are burned with fire. Not only am I open and exposed to the devil’s attacks when I sin and turn my back on God, I cannot bar evil influences from ruining my life. The entry points, the gates, are burnt. Even the slightest resistance cannot be put up. The enemy is on the rampage. They have free access to my spiritual city, which is now nothing but rubble.