Rebuilding the Walls (Removing the Rubbish)
Last week in our Walls Series, we studied how Nehemiah went by night to survey the wall and see the damage that was there so that God could show him a plan of action before they began to rebuild. This week I want us to focus on something that was crucial for the workers who were building the wall in Nehemiah’s day and that is crucial in how we build the protective spiritual walls against the enemy. We must remove the rubbish, and build on a solid foundation!
Handout: Rebuilding the Walls
Teacher's Guide: Rebuilding the Walls
Ok let’s recap on last week’s lesson just to get us up to speed a bit. Studying the life of God’s servant Nehemiah who had traveled the long journey to Jerusalem from Babylon, to begin his work on rebuilding the wall in which God had called him to do. Without a wall, Jerusalem was weak against enemy attacks and they risk being taken over yet again and oppressed by the enemy. Nehemiah went by night so that no one would know what he is doing and he began to survey the wall.
Step 3: Surveying the Wall
11So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.12And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.13And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.14Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.15Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.16And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.
Nehemiah knew that if they were going to rebuild the wall, they would first have to survey the damage to see just how much work needed to be done and the condition of the wall that had been there before. Nehemiah was very wise. He did not shout out his plans to everyone around him in hopes to gain a name for himself. Instead he kept it in his heart what God was calling him to do for Jerusalem until the time was right for him to tell of his plan. He went by night and began to survey the damage so that he would know what steps he would need to take and come up with a wise strategy before he talked with the people that lived in Jerusalem about the task at hand. He knew that God was with him and that God was calling him for this purpose and that God would show him what to do next. He knew that he must first survey the wall and then God would help him come up with a plan of action in order to complete the work.
In the reading of these chapters, we see two men by the names of Sanballat and Tobiah who were very much against the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. They caused much trouble for Nehemiah. However Nehemiah persevered and did not let them stop the work that God had called him to do. We will look at the opposition from the enemy at a later time but right now I want us to go to Nehemiah chapter 4 and verse 10.
Nehemiah 4:10 “10And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.”
We learn in 2 Kings chapter 25 that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon had invaded Jerusalem and had completely destroyed in the invasion. So of course the walls were in ruins.
The job of re-building was a great task, however, no work could begin until all the rubbish was cleared and the original foundations had been exposed. If an attempt to build the walls without clearing first, they would be unstable and ultimately fall again. It had to be done correctly. The foundation was already there, it had been built many years before, so the rubbish had to be removed in order to start anew on the solid foundation so that it would remain strong for years to come!
If we are to build up our Spiritual walls against attacks from the enemy, we must do it correctly, we must clear away the rubbish first and build on a solid foundation which is Christ Jesus! Our foundation is and will always be. If we build upon Him, no matter what the enemy throws at us, we will not be moved!
1 Corinthians 3:8-17
“8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.10According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
A wall is only as solid as its foundation. The foundation of our life is Jesus Christ to those who are born again by the precious blood that He shed for our sins. Everything we are and do must fit into the pattern that has been provided by Him. We have all the tools we need to build a wall solid and firm. What are you and I building on? I want to build on Christ.
Ephesians 2:20 “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF being the CHIEF cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together growth into an holy temple in the Lord.”
Like Nehemiah, we must realize that God has to do the work. We just have to be willing and obedient to whatever He leads and directs us to do. Ultimately the job is that of Christ in us. We cannot build up walls ourselves.
Psalm 127:1 “1Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
What exactly is rubbish? In Nehemiah’s day the rubbish was the ruins of the former wall that had been destroyed, it consisted of the materials that the former wall had been made of. In our spiritual lives, rubbish is sin and pain that we have not allowed God to deal with and heal. It is those secret places that we do not want to relive or to think about because they are so shameful or painful that we believe the lie from satan that we cannot survive having to go there once again. Rubbish is those things that come between us and God that hinder the work He wants to do in our lives. The things we do for God, those are good works that we are building with. When the end of our lives here on earth is over, our works that we have been building with, God will try with fire.
“12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
When we build on Christ, those things will remain forever. They will last when tried by fire. When we sin, those works will burn up as hay, wood, and stubble; they are rubbish and will not stand! We must get real honest with ourselves and with God. When we are in the process of surveying our wall just as Nehemiah did at Jerusalem, we must ask God to show us the rubbish. The things that might even lie hidden from our view, we must ask God to shed light on those things and to clear them out of our lives. Satan loves rubbish in our lives; he knows that if he throws his fiery darts, it will go up in smoke!
Think about that for a moment. If the good things we do for God will be tried by HIS fire and will stand, then no fires of hell or Satan that come against us will be able to burn it down! Praise YOU LORD!
Ephesians 6:16 “Above all, taking on the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
Know beloved, that there will be fiery darts. Do not be fooled into thinking that Satan will “play nice.”
1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
How do we rejoice in these things? When our walls are strong, built upon the foundation which is Christ, we can rejoice. We can rejoice because our wall is strong and though trials come, though temptations come, we will not be overtaken by the enemy because we are safe in Christ. Sin separates us from God, so we must seek God to do a work in us to remove the sin in our lives so that we are firmly placed and in direct contact with Him, our foundation! We want NOTHING in between that foundation and our walls! He is the firm foundation, the rock on which we are building on! Thank You Lord!
45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
I leave you today with this thought, what are you building on? Are you building on the foundation which is Christ, or is there much rubbish? Let us seek the LORD Beloved, and ask Him to show us the things that must be eliminated so that we can stand firm on Christ who is the sweet rock of ages!
I think of this hymn that I love so much. I hope that you enjoy the words.
Standing on the Solid Rock
Written by: Harold Lane
Through my disappointment, strife and discontentment, I cast my every care upon the Lord.
No matter what obsession, pain or deep depression, I’m standing on the Solid Rock.
I’m standing on the Rock of Ages; Safe from every storms that rages;
I'm rich but not from Satan’s wages; I’m standing on the Solid Rock.
Even though He’s gone, now, I don’t feel alone now. With comfort came the Spirit of the Lord. And with His Word to guide me, from temptation hide me, I’m standing on the Solid Rock.
Oh, I’m standing on the Rock of Ages; Safe from all the storm that rages;
I'm rich but not from Satan’s wages; I’m standing on the Solid Rock.
Now, I’m pressing onward, each step leads me homeward. I’m trusting in my Savior day by day. Close is our relation, firm is It's Foundation, and on the Solid Rock I’ll stay.
Dear Righteous Heavenly Father,
I bow before You today thanking You for another week and for the many blessings You have given and continue to give. Lord today I pray that You show me the rubbish that is in my life. Clear out anything that is not of You Lord so that the work can be done that You have begun in me. Lord help me to be obedient to Your will and help me to surrender to everything that is You because You are life, You are my Foundation and I want to build upon You and You alone. I love You Lord and I worship You. I pray for all those who are reading today that You will help them to build on You Lord JESUS so that they are strong against the enemy. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus name I pray. Thank You Lord!