“Are we warriors or are we wimps?” was a question posed to some terrified kids in an “Adventure in Odyssey” episode. Rapidly, the answer came back, “We are wimps!”
Nehemiah must have felt like a wimp as well.
The Jews returned to Jerusalem after seventy years in exile, and were once again worshiping at their Temple. They were living in the very city their ancestors had built. However, despite an attempt to restore the city’s walls (Ezra 4:12-24), they still lay in ruin.
Nehemiah and his crew, commissioned by God, went to Jerusalem to attempt the renovation project once again. Under Nehemiah’s leadership, the restoration and rebuilding project was zipping right along by Nehemiah, chapter 3.
However, in chapter 4 the workers hit the proverbial “wall.”
The wall of weariness.
The wall of discouragement, as day in and day out, they worked under the duress of their enemies’ constant mocking.
Then the rumours started.
The enemies’ mocking was about to turn into a full-fledged attack against them!
Nehemiah, one of the greatest leaders of the Bible, encouraged the people with these words:
“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!” Neh 4:14 (NLT)
The sad reality is that most parents are unaware of satan’s sneak attacks because they are too busy, too tired, or completely at the end of their ropes as to what to do! As a result, the enemy slithers in through the breaches in our walls, and steals our kids right from under our noses!
How do we transform from wimps to warriors?
I believe Nehemiah chapter 4 teaches us several principles about fighting for our families.
These truths are not new or earth-shattering. In fact, most of us already know them. But as God reminded me recently, “knowing and doing are two VERY different things!” (Join with me as I share these principles over the next few weeks.)
Most parents do try to put the truths we learn from Nehemiah into practice. However, from time to time, the warfare can become so intense that we, like the people of Jerusalem, hit the walls of weariness and discouragement. We fear the rumour is true that the great snake is going to swallow us whole! We run away from the battle rather than standing our ground.
This is when we need someone to come alongside us. Someone to encourage us and point out that if we give in, we will give up the most precious gift ever given to us – our children.
How do we fight for our families?
Therefore, a city was only as strong as its walls. Parts of Jerusalem’s walls lay in ruins, and the sections which remained standing were in decay. This left Jerusalem at the mercy of her foes. All of this did not sit well with Nehemiah, a Jew born in exile. Although he had never seen Jerusalem, God had placed a burden on his heart for this holy city to be restored. Nehemiah wanted to fight for his ancestral family home.
Truth # 1 – We must first survey the damage.
Nehemiah didn’t start rebuilding the walls as soon as he arrived in the city. First, he inspected the walls (Neh 2:11-13) because he knew that in order to rebuild, he needed to know how bad the damage was.
Our homes are holy cities; fortresses with spiritual walls, or hedges, of protection against the world we live in.
Parents are responsible for keeping these spiritual walls of security in shape. The sad reality is that in most homes, and in many of our personal lives as well, the parapets of protection are lying in ruins. The enemy has access while we are completely unaware that the barricades have even been breached!
Therefore, we parents need to constantly (not a one time task!) survey the walls protecting our home.
The fight doesn’t end there!
Not only did Nehemiah survey the damage; he also assessed the rubble.
While inspecting Jerusalem’s wall, Nehemiah couldn’t pass through one area because the rubble was so high (2:14). In the same way, the flow of the Holy Spirit can be blocked from passing in and through us and our homes because the rubble of sin is too high! Getting rid of the rubble was the first thing that had to happen if any restoration was going to take place on Jerusalem’s wall. Nehemiah knew that a secure and safe wall could not be built on a pile of broken stones. He knew they had to get rid of the debris first, because it was preventing a solid wall of protection from being built.
We too must first remove the rubble (selfish attitudes, acting independent of God, mean words, wrong influences, festering hurts, etc.) and get back to the solid rock, the firm foundation upon which we must build our homes (I Cor 3:10-11, Psalm 127:1).
Is your home being built on the Rock?
We need to do more than hang a pretty plaque that says, “God is the head of this home.” We must choose to give Him that place! My every decision and disciplinary act must come from my desire that, “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15 NAS)
In order to build the home, God may first have to do a renovation on you (the parent)!
If we haven’t given God first place in our lives, then He won’t be first place in our homes. We will be building on rubble; shaking, broken stones that won’t withstand the enemy.
Have you surveyed the walls? Is it time to take out the rubble?