When we consider what our forefathers did, it is heartening to know that they had painstakingly built walls that would serve not only to protect themselves but the generations to follow. It was not an easy task but they knew that without walls, they would be exposed and rendered vulnerable to the onslaught of their enemies. But as generations have come and gone, the walls they built were found with many breaches caused by neglect or outright wilful actions. This is true not only of the physical walls, as in the case of the walls of Jerusalem, but spiritual walls as in the spiritual and moral teachings of our forefathers lifted from the Scriptures. Now that we find ourselves in the midst of these breaches and ruins, how do we respond? In the case of Nehemiah, after hearing that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and its gates burned with fire, he grieved and said, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Neh. 1:4).
With the growing moral and spiritual decline, the devil is enjoying his day. Our society’s wall of moral fabric not only has breaches, but is quickly crumbling down. Even believers are not spared from this moral decline as they embrace all kinds of worldly teachings and practices. The apostle Paul aptly described our generation when he said, “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Eph. 4:19). We are not called to be victims but victors. How are we to respond to this moral decline? Isaiah said, “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” (Isa. 58:12).
Indeed, we need to take action in rebuilding our moral fabric. We cannot afford to sit idly by and watch the destruction of our society. The little steps that each one of us takes will help restore godliness in our society. In his case, Nehemiah not only grieved over the broken wall of Jerusalem but actually set out to repair the breaches of the wall. It was a tall task as he encountered all kinds of challenges. The enemies ridiculed him and, in their stiff opposition, posed these questions (Neh. 4:2-3) that were meant to discourage the Jews, and even us today:
What are these feeble Jews (Christians) doing? The devil will come to accuse us of being too weak to rebuild our broken walls. The truth of the matter is that we are weak on our own but we can be like the apostle Paul who said, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13).
Will they restore their wall? The devil will come to distract us so that we will not focus on the rebuilding of our faith but on something physical. It should be noted that outward and physical blessings are not guarantees that we are saved. We need to pursue the things of God which matter in the end. The apostle Paul said, “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:7-8).
Will they offer sacrifices? Because the work of rebuilding is not easy, the devil will come to question our sincerity and commitment. Are we willing to pay the price? Up to what extent are we willing to make sacrifices? No wonder Jesus said, “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:38). Many are not willing to give up their good life in exchange for serving Jesus.
Will they finish in a day? The devil knows that it takes time to rebuild our faith. He will then tempt us to dilly-dally and not feel the urgency. But the apostle Paul said, “Be very careful, then, how you live– not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).
Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble – burned as they are? The devil will come to inject hopelessness in our situation. Indeed, our lives could be tattered but God can make us whole again because we believe in “God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17).
What they are building – if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones! Knowing our weaknesses, the devil will come to make us doubt of our salvation. But remember that we shall endure until the end “because the one who is in you (us) is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). And Jesus said, “He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13). Praise the Lord!