Meditating on the Word
“In His law he meditates day and night” Psalm 1:2
“Meditating on the Word,” edited by Wayne Burger, is a work of the Columbine church of Christ, 7453 S. Zephyr Ct., Littleton, Colorado, 80128. E-mail: email@example.com — Suggested topics are welcomed.
Vol. 15 No. 6 February 8, 2015
Rebuilding the Walls
Walls protect. When there are no walls precious treasures can be stolen or destroyed. Today, walls of personal moral restraint have been torn down. Walls for spiritual support in the home have been destroyed. Walls of proper hermeneutical interpretation in the church have been cast aside. Biblical walls for guiding our nation have been ignored or twisted by our national leaders. If there is ever going to be restoration in our personal lives, homes, church, and nation, we must rebuild the walls.
The book of Nehemiah is a book about rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem to protect God’s house (Nehemiah 1:3; 2: 6:15). The principles that guided Nehemiah in rebuilding that physical wall can guide us in rebuilding our spiritual walls. Let’s note some of those principles.
First, one must recognize that walls are down and that this is a serious situation. The temple of God had been built, or at least was in the process of being rebuild, but as long as there were no walls around the city, the temple was subject to being plundered again. Nehemiah recognized the seriousness of the situation. Unfortunately, the philosophies of today have blinded the minds of many so that they do not recognize that the protective walls are down. People today are deceived just as they were in the days of Jeremiah when God said, “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain; and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:13-14). Walls of moral integrity have been destroyed and people don’t even know it. Corruptions that destroy the home are present and people are not afraid. In fact, they even promote these false ideas.
Second, Nehemiah was sad when he learned that the walls were destroyed. Those who reported to Nehemiah said, “the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3). Nehemiah said, “When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days” (Nehemiah 1:4). Only when there is godly sorrow will restoration and restitution take place. “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (II Corinthians 7:10). Nehemiah’s concern was so deep that his employer, the king, noticed the problem. “So the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart’” (Nehemiah 2:2). Nehemiah’s concern was not shallow. It was not something that would pass in a few days. His concern was deep and so severe that it showed. Until we have that depth of concern for our broken walls, we’ll do nothing to restore them.
Third, Nehemiah fasted and prayed about the matter (Nehemiah 1:4). His sorrow wasn’t just outward, but rather inward. Fasting indicates deep sorrow and personal examination. Listen to his prayer, “Let your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded your servant Moses” (Nehe-miah 1:6-7). God was not at fault, the people were. We must recognize that the problem in our lives, homes, church, and nations is not God’s fault, but ours.
Fourth, Nehemiah did something to solve the problem. When asked by the king what his request was Nehemiah had specific answers. He got permission and materials from the king to correct the problem. Although he lived 800 miles from the problem he became personally involved. It is easy for everyone to wish someone would do something to solve the problem. Wishing will not help, but working will. It is always easy to stand on the sidelines and let someone else do the work. We must get involved.
Do you recognize that the walls in your spiritual house are being destroyed or have already been destroyed? Do you recognize that the walls of protection in the church are being removed? Would you not agree that the walls of protection that the nation should provide are being destroyed daily? If we recognize these facts, then each of us recognizes his own personal responsibility to rebuilt these walls. Let’s do what Nehemiah did. He was successful in that the walls were built in fifty-two days (Nehemiah 6:15). How long will it take to rebuild our walls if we each work at it?
This article first appeared in the Rocky Mountain Christian, September 2004.
An incredible event
Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of three books (including the best-seller, The Elephant Whisperer), bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities. This included the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during the US invasion in 2003.
On March 7, 2012, Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, two sons, two grandsons and numerous elephants. Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs and separate wild herds which arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved man-friend. A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 112 miles to get to his South African house. This was the elephants’ journey to pay respect – but how did they know?
The answer is that there is “something in the universe that is much greater and deeper than human intelligence.” Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence Anthony’s passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way; walking slowly – for days – while making their way in a solemn one-by-one procession from their habitat to his house. So how, after Anthony’s death, did the reserve’s elephants – grazing miles away in distant parts of the park – know?
“A good man died suddenly,” says Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, “and from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had lost a beloved human friend, moved in solemn, almost ‘funeral-like procession’ to make a call on the bereaved family at the deceased man’s home.” If there ever were a time when we can truly sense the wondrous “interconnectedness of all beings,” it is when we reflect on the elephants of Thula Thula. A man’s heart stops and hundreds of elephants’ hearts are grieving. This man’s oh-so-abundantly loving heart offered healing to these elephants, and now they came to pay loving homage to their friend.
Lawrence’s wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to their house prior to that day for well over three years! Yet they knew where they were going. The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who‘d saved their lives – so much respect that they stayed for two days and two nights without eating anything. Then one morning they left, making their long journey back.” True to their reputation that elephants never forget, they remembered their friend.
A long-time missionary to South Africa Monthly Newsletter, Volume 21 Issue 1, January 31, 2013.
For the Sake of Righteousness
Righteousness is a word from the Old and New Testaments that speaks to our relationship with God.
David knew God to be the great shepherd that guided him in the paths of righteousness, and then includes “for His name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3).
Perhaps, the most significant for Christians shows how Jesus, who knew no sin, was made sin on our behalf so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Co. 5:21).
These are only a few verses expressing the nature of this word. The guide for our life, food for our soul, ethical character, and priority of life are framed by the righteousness Jesus made possible through His death.
God should trust and the world should know that our choices are for the sake of righteousness. Before any decision is acted upon, consideration of the quality of our righteousness must be considered.
Is it right with God?