REBUILDING BROKEN WALLS
The title of today’s message is ‘Rebuilding broken walls!’
I will be sharing from the book of Nehemiah.
When the Lord began stirring this message in my heart, I asked Him, ”Lord, why do You want me to share on this?” And I sensed Him say: ”I want My people to build again. There has been a breaking down. There are ruins. Some people are in great despair, and many aren’t feeling safe. Each person’s life is of immense value to Me. I am the Lord Who restores, and I want My people to build again. It’s not just the rebuilt walls that I’m looking for, it’s all the inner work that takes place in people’s lives when they build. The process, not just the end result, will restore their souls.”
Can you hear the heart of the Father? His heart is for us to be restored, and what does this restoration look like.
THINGS THAT CAN RESULT IN BROKEN-DOWN WALLS
– There are many things that can cause broken down walls, but for the Israelites in Nehemiah’s day, it was sin.
– They were God’s people and He was their God. They were in a covenant relationship with Him, but over time their hearts started to long for the pleasures of the world and some even began to worship idols and the gods of the pagan nations.
– They sinned against God… breaking their covenant with Him.
– God had warned them about the consequences of sin (just as He warns us now), and a day came when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, and carried God’s people into captivity. Only a remnant was left to work the land.
– However, it is not just sin that can lead to broken-down walls.
– It is anything that impacts our intimacy with God. It can be busyness, and worry, and stress that distracts us from the Lord. It can also be disappointment that has caused us to be angry with God, or to withdraw from Him. (I have seen this often with people who have lost a loved one, have experienced the ending of a relationship or a dream, and also with those struggling with chronic pain or illness). We can get discouraged when something doesn’t make sense.
– Recently a lady shared a testimony of a loved one who died; and how she got angry with God, because she loved the person so much. In her anger, she sinned, and came to a place where there were ruins all around her. But we serve a gracious and compassionate God, a God Who restores, and He has begun a beautiful work of restoration in that lady’s life.
– So, if you are reading this and there are ruins around you, please know that God wants to help you rebuild the walls.
– Even for the Israelites, God only allowed them to be in captivity for so long before He brought them back to the Promised land.
– The first group of exiles was led by Zerubbabel, and they rebuilt the temple (There is a lesson here for us. When we need restoration, this is where we should start too. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the first step is to restore our relationship, intimacy and communion with the Lord).
Nehemiah 1:2-4 NLT
Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem. They said to me, ”Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”” When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
”O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honouring You. Please grant me success today by making the king favourable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.
”Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. So the king asked me, ”Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.” Then I was terrified, but I replied, ”Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” The king asked, ”Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, ”If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, ”How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.”
So, let’s learn from Nehemiah on HOW TO REBUILD BROKEN WALLS.
1. MOVED TO TEARS.
– Nehemiah sat down and wept when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem were in ruin.
– He wept, and then he mourned and fasted and prayed for many days.
– When was the last time you really cried about something broken in your life?
– When was the last time you cried about something broken in the world around you?
– Being moved to tears is a healthy response to broken-down walls in our lives.
– Perhaps it’s a habitual sin, or an addiction, or a strained relationship with your spouse or your child.
– Sometimes we need to go and lie down on our beds, and put our face in our pillow, and cry and weep before the Lord.
– We need to express our anguish to God. Tell Him what is happening, cry out for forgiveness, and call out to Him for help and guidance regarding the situation.
– This is not just for us. Sometimes, like Nehemiah, we need to cry to the Lord because of the broken walls that someone we know and love is facing. The family member who isn’t saved, a child who is backslidden, a friend contemplating divorce. We should also weep for them. This allows the extent of their pain to pierce our hearts.
– Recently I ministered to a lady in need of healing. During the time of prayer, we ended up crying out to the Lord for her son who is struggling with depression.
– Nehemiah was moved to tears, and because of this he was moved to prayer.
– Sometimes, in our own lives we have broken-down walls, but we don’t pray earnestly enough for restoration because we haven’t been moved to tears. Sometimes we hear about a person who is struggling and we pray a brief prayer for them, but not a long, powerful, persistent prayer to the Lord, because we haven’t been moved in our hearts.
– Maybe we need to get to a point where we are really moved to tears on their behalf, when our hearts are broken for them.
– Jesus wept over Jerusalem. We read about this in Luke 19:41-42.
– Even the Apostle Paul cried? We don’t read about him crying due to the hardships of ministry, or the beatings and persecution he received. No, Paul was moved to tears for the sake of the lost. Philippians 3:18-19 ”For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” (Paul wept about people who lived like this.)
– Paul also had great compassion for the believers in the churches he planted. The church in Corinth caused him great anguish because the corruption in the culture around them had crept into the church. 2 Corinthians 2:4 ”For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.”
– Can I invite you to think about a broken wall in your life, or in the life of someone you love. Can I encourage you today to get on your knees, or to lie on your bed, and to weep over the brokenness.
2. MOVED TO PRAYER.
– Nehemiah’s tears moved him to prayer.
– The Bible tells us that he fasted and prayed for many days. (4 months to be exact!)
– Nehemiah 1:5-11 gives us some insights into his prayer life, and we can learn much from it.
– Verse 5 ”O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God Who keeps His covenant of unfailing love with those who love Him and obey His commands”.
– 1. Nehemiah acknowledged the greatness and love of God. This is a good place to start when rebuilding walls. Our faith rises when we remember that nothing is impossible for God and that He is a God of love.
– Think about that broken wall that you are facing. Now see the issue, or the person, or the situation in the context of God’s greatness and love.
– Verse 6a ”Listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for Your people Israel.”
– 2. Nehemiah asked God to listen to his prayer and to see him praying. This may seem strange, but actually it just showed how earnest Nehemiah was in his prayer. He wasn’t praying for the sake of praying. He was praying for God to move on his behalf.
– Once again, think about that wall that needs to be rebuilt. Could it be time to say look at me Lord? I am praying night and day. Listen to my prayer.
– Verse 6b-7 I confess that we have sinned against You. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that You gave us through Your servant Moses.
– 3. Nehemiah asked the Lord for forgiveness, and he didn’t just confess the sins of the people, but he repented of his own sins and the sins of his family. He took responsibility for the situation Israel had found themselves in. He didn’t blame or accuse, he repented.
– Verse 8-9 ”Please remember what You told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to Me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to Me and obey My commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for My Name to be honoured.’
– 4. He reminded the Lord of His promises. Lord, You said that if Your people return to You, even if they are exiled to the ends of the earth, then You will bring them back to the place You have chosen for them.
– What are the promises that the Lord has spoken over you? What are the promises the Lord has spoken over your loved one, your family, or the situation you are facing that needs to be restored. We can remind God. But Lord, You said…
– Verse 10-11 ”The people You rescued by Your great power and strong hand are Your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honouring You. Please grant me success today by making the king favourable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”
– 5. Nehemiah ends his prayer by asking God for favour. One of the keys to receiving God’s favour is to ask for it. ”Please grant me success today by making the king favourable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”
– When we pray about something we are acknowledging our dependence on the Lord. We are saying to Him, Lord, I can’t fix this in my own strength, I need You!
– I heard a story about a Minister who did pastoral visits. He would arrive at a member’s home and knock on the door. Then he would wait. He got very good at observing the curtains. The faintest stir would indicate that someone was home. Some people wouldn’t respond, and he would eventually leave. Others would open the door, just a crack, and speak to him briefly through the small opening. Others would say, ”The house is a mess but come in anyway.” He would go in… and the house would be a mess, but they would enjoy a time of blessed fellowship.
– When we pray, we are inviting the Lord to come in and His presence will bless us. We will enjoy fellowship with Him in the midst of our struggle, and we will also hear Him speak, and He will show us what to do.
– This is what happened to Nehemiah.
– Nehemiah 2:12 ”I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem.”
– You see, God had placed a strategy in Nehemiah’s heart. Remember he had prayed and fasted for 4 months and during that time God gave him a divine plan.
– When we pray for ourselves, for someone else, or about a situation, the Lord will give us the wisdom we seek and show us His plan.
– It is also very likely that God will involve us in the rebuilding process.
3. MOVED TO ACTION.
– The rebuilding of the wall is a miracle. An impossible task was completed in 52 days.
– Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and examined the damage. He shared God’s plan with the leaders. He gained the support of the people and he organised the building effort with wisdom and care. Each person was required to build the portion of the wall in front of their own home. Whole families got involved, even the ladies.
– Nehemiah also rallied key leaders to build other sections of the wall and to repair the various gates. People from all walks of life got involved. The priests got involved, a goldsmith got involved and even a manufacturer of perfume. I love the way the Bible contains such details… it even mentions their names.
– You see, it doesn’t matter what your job or skill set is, there is Kingdom building work for you to do.
– Rebuilding broken walls takes perseverance.
– Nehemiah and the people faced great opposition, and we are likely to face opposition from the enemy when we are involved in Kingdom building. Sometimes the opposition comes from outside, and sometimes it comes from within.
– Regardless of any opposition, we need to keep on building and we need to keep on encouraging those around us. We can’t give up when the enemy threatens us or tells us that we are wasting our time or that there is no hope. We can’t despair when he tries to tell us that our ruins are our future. No, we need to stand firm in our authority in Christ and hold on to what He has told us during our times of prayer.
– Nehemiah 4:13-14 So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows. Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, ”Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, Who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!’‘
– So, they built with one hand, and they had a weapon in the other. Sometimes we need to do rebuilding work and spiritual warfare at the same time.
– The Israelites persevered… and they finished the work.
– Nehemiah 6:15-16 ”The wall was completed… in fifty-two days.”
– Conclusion: We are living in a broken world, but the Lord is with us. Let’s invite Him into our lives, our families, our workplaces, and even into our brokenness.
– We may need to say, ”Lord, the house is a mess, but come in anyway.”
– If we are moved to tears, moved to prayer and moved to action; with God’s help, we will rebuild broken walls.
PRAYER: Pray with me and let’s lift before Him any broken wall that needs to be rebuilt.
Loving Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, Precious Holy Spirit. We honour You today and recognise Your greatness and love. Lord, You can see every heart. You know what each one of us is weeping over. Thank You that we can pray and ask You to show us what to do. Speak to us Lord. Speak to us through Your Word. Speak to us through the Holy Spirit and Lord we are willing to be part of the rebuilding. We will build faithfully and with newfound enthusiasm. Give us favour and success Father, and may You be glorified with every Kingdom wall that is rebuilt. In Jesus Name. Amen.
By Pastor Bruce Taylor
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