All of us have at some time and to some degree experienced
having the walls to our soul torn down by the enemy. The soul is like a
city which we are to protect from the enemy. The soul is made up
of the mind, will and emotions. When the walls are torn down, the
enemy has a free access to our minds, our emotions, or our will.
He comes in to deceive our minds into thinking wrong thoughts. He
comes in to stir up our emotions with anger, confusion, depression, bitterness
and the like. He comes in to influence or control our will.
When the walls are torn down one may experience various addictions and
uncontrolled thoughts. In fact, he will set up strongholds of lies
within the city of our soul which must be torn down. We must
confront the lies with the Word of God, bind and cast out the enemy then
begin to work on rebuilding of the walls.
When Nehemiah first hears about the remnant that remained from the captivity, he hears that they were in great affliction and reproach. This may be you today. You may be suffering from depression, an anxiety disorder, or even schizophrenia. The wall of protection to your soul may be in shambles. The door to your soul may be torn down.
When Nehemiah got the bad news, he sat down, wept, and mourned for a number of days. He also fasted and prayed before the God of heaven (Nehemiah 1:4). He called upon God to hear his desperate prayer. (We find that Nehemiah prayed continually throughout this study.) He prayed day and night and confessed his own sins and also the sins of his forefathers which had precipitated the destruction of Jerusalem. Then he calls God into remembrance of His Word. He quotes, "If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there" (Nehemiah 1:8-9). Here he acknowledges the cause and the effect. However, there is also a promise that if they repent, God would restore them.
He appeals to God to remember that these are His people whom He had redeemed by His great power and strong hand. Then he makes a direct appeal to God. "O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer" (Nehemiah 1:11). What did you do when you discovered that the wall or walls were torn down? Did you go to a psychologists who tried to encourage you by telling you that it really wasn't that bad ... just think positive thoughts and the problem would go away? Nehemiah acknowledged the wrong and asked God for mercy to rebuild the wall.
In the next chapter, Nehemiah gives us an excellent example of making an appeal to the proper authority. When the king asked Nehemiah why he is so sad, he responds first by acknowledging the authority of the king and explained why his countenance was so sad. When the king asks him what he could do, immediately Nehemiah prayed to God (2:4). He places the judgment of the matter in the king's hands, "If it please the king" (Nehemiah 2:5a). Next, he sets the ground for making the appeal, "If thy servant have found favour in thy sight" (Nehemiah 2:5b). Then Nehemiah makes the appeal by asking the king to send him to Judah to rebuild the wall. The king granted the request of Nehemiah. It may be that you may need to make an appeal to the authority over you (your husband, your pastor, or your boss) to come to San Angelo so that you can rebuild the walls in your life.
However, when the enemies heard of the plan to rebuild the walls to Jerusalem, they were not pleased. "When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel" (Nehemiah 2:10). I must tell you that when your spiritual enemy hears of your plan to rebuild the walls about your soul, that he will not be very pleased either. Even some of your family members or so-called friends may try to discourage you from getting the help to rebuild the walls of your soul.
When Nehemiah reached Jerusalem with a few men, he surveyed the city in secret and then he went to the priests and nobles, and rulers. When he met with them, he confronted them with the truth, the reality of the situation. "Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach" (Nehemiah 2:17). Reader, you must also be confronted with the reality of your situation and quit allowing yourself to be deceived about the seriousness of the matter. However, Nehemiah didn't stop there! "Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work" (Nehemiah 2:18). I must also tell you that the grace of God also has been upon me to help you rebuild the walls in your life. "Let us rise up and build." However, you must also make a decision to be determined to rebuild.
In Nehemiah 2:19, we find that the two enemies got
another enemy to join with them against the rebuilding. The Devil's
men will join together to keep you from rebuilding. Sanballat, Tobiah,
and Geshem. The meaning of the names are interesting. Sanballat means
"strength". Immediately, I think of, "Or else
how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except
he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house"
(Matthew 12;29). Tobaih is actually a good name meaning "Jehovah
is good", but he is an Ammonite, the enemy. There is a bit of deception
Geshem means "rain". He along with the others will rain accusations upon Nehemiah and the work.
The three enemies laughed to scorn the workers who were to rebuild the walls. They despised Nehemiah and the worker (Nehemiah 2:19). They raised questions about the work. "What is this thing that ye do? will you rebel against the king?" (Nehemiah 2:19). Sometimes people will also question the work that I do in helping in the rebuilding of walls of protection in the lives of individuals. They question the validity of Scriptural counseling since it is not recognized by the authority of various professionals.
Take a look at how Nehemiah responded. I really like what he said. "Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem" (Nehemiah 2:20). Nehemiah was not passive! He was assertive because he was depending upon God. His focus of attention was not on the enemy, nor in once sense upon the problem, but upon WHAT GOD WOULD DO. Furthermore, he also asserted that the enemy would not have a portion, or right or memorial in the city. You must also be assertive that once the wall is rebuilt that the enemy will not have a place in your soul (mind, will, and emotions). Amen.
In chapter three, we see that Nehemiah organized the building of the various parts of the wall and each of the gates. This is significant, because he got each family involved in the building. Some people want me to fix them, their marriage, or family without their doing any work. I give homework assignments, but some people never look at it and wonder why there is no change in their lives. However, those who are diligent to do the work see God work miracles in their live. In chapter three, it is also important see that when one is to rebuild the wall and gates, it is a multifaceted work. I often have someone that comes in and wants me to snap my fingers and fix his or her entire life. It does not work that way! Usually, there is much more than one wall to restore or one gate to replace. Often, the individual has not fully surveyed the damage or has simply come to ignore it. There is always a temptation to put up a gate, but leave a whole wall torn down.
In chapter four, we see that when the enemies hear that the wall was being rebuilt that they became very ANGRY, "and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews" (Nehemiah 4:1b). Watch out when you start rebuilding the walls against the enemies in your life! "And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?" (Nehemiah 4:2). The enemy will tell you that you are too weak to rebuild. "You don't think you can fortify yourself, do you?" "You will never be free to worship." "It will take you years and years, if you ever could rebuild." "Your life is too much in a waste for you to ever recover." This may sound like some of the thoughts that the enemy has been throwing at you.
"Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall" (Nehemiah 4:3). The enemy will tell you, even if you rebuild you won't be able to keep even the smallest enemy out.
However, when Nehemiah hear the words, he didn't lay down and play dead. He prayed. "Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity" (Nehemiah 4:4). When the enemy speaks against your rebuilding the wall, pray.
Furthermore, "So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work" (Nehemiah 4:6). Nehemiah and the people put feet to their faith and joined together to work. Here we see a determination to rebuild. We MUST have a determination to rebuild. I will work with people as long as they have a DETERMINATION to rebuild and apply the counsel that they receive.
It looks like the enemies would give up after a while but they don't. Their attacks usually intensify. "But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it" (Nehemiah 4:7-8). Note that they were VERY ANGRY and gathered another tribe for an attack. Remember that the enemy does not want you to rebuild the walls in your life. Usually on the second or third day of intense counseling I see the attacks intensify. I have just come to expect it. Nehemiah didn't give up to their threats. He prayed. "Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them" (Nehemiah 4:9). This is a true picture of "watching and praying."
Often times this is a time of real discouragement. "And 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" (Nehemiah 4:10). In counseling, it is not uncommon that the client begins to look at all the rubbish and say, "I am not able to rebuild the wall." The problem is that of focus. Some restoration has been accomplished, but the focus becomes upon the words of the enemy and the amount of work ahead.
This then is when the enemy takes advantage of this opportunity to instill fear. "And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease" (Nehemiah 4:11). The enemy will declare, "I will come in and take control and you won't even know it until it is too late." Note the term "adversaries" which means the one who stands against us. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (I Peter 5:8-9). It is not the time to give up, but the time to become assertive and to RESIST the enemy. The only way that we can stand is upon the relation we have with God and the Word of God. Also see Ephesians 6:10-18.
Again it seems that the enemy will never give up. "And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you" (Nehemiah 4:12). Now the enemy is using the Jews (living by them) to induce the fears. They keep coming to them for ten straight times. How many times have your friends told you that you might as well give up and just to accept your fate in life? "Why you just have a chemical imbalance!" "You just married the wrong guy or gal. Best face it and get a divorce."
However, Nehemiah didn't give in. "Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows" (Nehemiah 4:13). Nehemiah was determined to rebuild the wall. Are you? Furthermore, he encouraged those who were in charge. "And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses" (Nehemiah 4:14). I will also encourage you to not be afraid of the enemy! Your God is greater than the enemy He will do the fighting for you when you stand up to fight. Sometimes we have become so self centered that we don't see the need to fight for the benefit of others (family, friends, and those who they are yet to meet). When we stand against the enemy, we are also standing for others. However, we are to focus on God and not the enemy. Please note again that it is God who will do the fighting for you. You may have tried over and over to fight the enemy by your own strength or willpower and failed every time. Personal willpower doesn't count when facing the enemy. You are to be determined by faith that God gets the victory by His power in your life.
"And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work" (Nehemiah 4:15). I don't care how bad the situation you are in, God can bring the enemy's counsel to naught (nothing). You can by God's grace return to rebuild the wall!
In verses 16-17 we see that the people took shifts in watching guard and working. However, even those working prepare themselves against the enemy by having a sword strapped to their side. Our sword is the Word of God. "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17). Sometimes people want to depend upon me for my knowledge of the Word, when they should strap the sword to their own side and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. The primarily way that one can discern the coming of the enemy is through the Word of God. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). One of the major problems with a case of delusion is that the individual's walls are torn down. Another major problem is that the person has an inability to discern the coming of the enemy.
Again, Nehemiah gives instruction and encouragement to the people. "And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us" (Nehemiah 4:19-20). It is important in counseling that the counselee also communicates to the counselor when he or she is under attack. Then the counselor becomes responsible in some sense as to what should be done.
Chapter five begins with, "And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews" (Nehemiah 5:1). The common Jewish people were greatly in debt to the nobles. The nobles were taking so much interest on the debts that the common people were about to starve to death. Nehemiah addressed the issue directly with the nobles. "Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them" (Nehemiah 5:7). The nobles listed to his appeal and forgave the debts that the people might work on the wall. You may also have to get a release from your boss to come to get the counseling and rebuild the wall. Chapter five ends with another prayer of Nehemiah, "Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people." Nehemiah was continually in prayer.
Chapter six begins with a different approach of the accusers. "Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief" (Nehemiah 6:1-2). If the enemy can't win one way, then he will try another. This time the enemies sent word to Nehemiah that they wanted to meet with him and talk with him. The enemy will also come to you to get you to talk things over with him. Don't do it!!! He is out to deceive you! Nehemiah was assertive and responded by sending "messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" (Nehemiah 6:3). Don't let the enemy con you into talking with him. Furthermore, he wants to take you away from doing the work of building the wall.
Furthermore, the enemy is diligent in his approach. "Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner" (Nehemiah 6:4). Although the enemies were persistent, Nehemiah stood his ground. The fifth time, Sanballat attacks with a letter of false accusations. The letter stated that Gashmu said that Jews were in rebellion and that was the reason they were rebuilding the wall and that Nehemiah was planning to be their new king. Furthermore the letter suggest that Nehemiah had appointed prophets to prophesy that he was to be the king (Nehemiah 6:7). AGAIN, Nehemiah stood his ground and was assertive. "Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart" (Nehemiah 6:8). Actually the letters of the enemies were to cause fear in the Jews who were working on the wall. In fear, their hands would be weakened. Therefore, Nehemiah prayed, "Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands" (Nehemiah 6:9b). Do you see it? Every time a problem arose Nehemiah prayed! However, the enemy still did not give up.
Next, Nehemiah finds Shemiah (also a Jew) barricaded
in his own house. Shemiah suggests to Nehemiah, "Let
us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut
the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night
will they come to slay thee" (Nehemiah 6:10b). Your friends
and maybe even your family will say, "The enemy is
coming to get you, but you will be safe in church." I got news for
you the enemy comes to church also. Look at Nehemiah's response.
"And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being
as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in"
(Nehemiah 6:11). I am not suggesting that you stay away from church.
However, the church is a place of study, worship, and praise, not a place
to hide. I pray that you are not hiding in church because you are
afraid to rebuild the walls in your life.
Nehemiah perceived that Shemiah was not from God, but that Sanballet had hired him. "Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me" (Nehemiah 6:13). The sad truth is that often people "hire" medical doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists to give them a diagnosis that will cause them to fear for the rest of their lives. You should also note that fear that is acted upon always leads to sin. Why? "... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). Again, Nehemiah prayed.
However, because of the determination in faith of
the people and Nehemiah the walls were built.
"So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days" (Nehemiah 6:15). When the enemies saw the finished work, even they perceived that it had to be of God (Nehemiah 6:16). Now you would think that would be the end of the story, but it is not. "... And Tobiah sent letters to put me in fear" (Nehemiah 6:19). The enemy may leave for a season even as the Devil left Jesus after he rebuked him, but he will return again. The GOOD NEWS is that if the walls are rebuilt, he doesn't have a FREE entrance.
Some of the Factors in Rebuilding the Wall
a three part person
to hear and obey God.
God at all times.
a living sacrifice
of the enemy
your emotional wounds
into God's hands
principles of the Word
the Holy Spirit
"And they that shall be of
thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the
foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer
of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in" (Isaiah