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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
Nehemiah 2:17 "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."But, the condition of the literally city of Jerusalem is more than a point of historical trivia to us today. The condition of Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah is a shadow-picture of the spiritual condition of God's people, in the Last Days.
To demonstrate this, let's begin by looking up the word "reproach" in a Strong's Concordance. The word translated as "reproach" in Nehemiah 2:17 is from the Hebrew word cherpah, which means: "a shame, blasphemous, exposed, and a disgrace".
This sounds a whole lot like the Laodicean condition, which we are warned against in Revelation:
Revelation 3:13-17 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."Notice how similar the description of the Laodicean condition is compared with the condition of Jerusalem:
Since the Laodicean condition represents the spiritual "lukewarm" condition of the End-time "Christians", we may clearly find a parallel between the condition of Jerusalem - in Nehemiah's day - with the spiritual condition of many Christians in the Last Days. Bearing this in mind, let's return to Nehemiah's description list found in Nehemiah 2:17 so that we may draw spiritual parallels.
#1. Condition of Jerusalem: Gates burned with fire
Nehemiah 2:17 "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."Jerusalem's gates were burned with fire and its walls needed to be rebuilt. What does this symbolize? To answer that we first need to recall what the purpose of a gate and city walls were, in Biblical times. Gates and walls were put up to protect a city. They kept the evil out and preserved what was within. Thus, a city with burned gates and broken down walls was a city with no protection.
Nehemiah remedied the crisis of literal Jerusalem by setting about to rebuild the broken down walls and replace the burned gates. But how can we do this vital work in a spiritual way, to find healing for the spiritual brokenness of a Laodicean spirit?
In Proverbs, a human soul is compared to a city. When there is no "rule" in the soul, we are as spiritually defenseless against the enemy's onslaught as a Bible-times city would have been, without its walls.
Proverbs 25:28 "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls."Spiritually then, what is our "wall" of defense? It is God's Rule!
But how has God's Rule come to be broken down, so that we are spiritual cities left without a wall of protection? In Christianity today, a dangerous teaching has crept in which suggests that the Law of God was done away with at the Cross. If we believe that God's Law was done away with when Christ died, we will no longer have a desire to know what it contains, nor will we prayerfully work to incorporate its principles into our lives. Nailed to the Cross = Done Away!
God’s Law is a vital Blessing. Through Grace-empowered obedience to it, we are blessed. Through sinful disobedience to it, we are cursed.
• Deuteronomy 11:26-28 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. A blessing, if ye obey the Commandments of Yahweh your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the Commandments of Yahweh your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”
• Psalm 19:7-9 “The Law of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of Yahweh are true and righteous altogether.”
David Was Listing the Parts of the Law in Psalm 19! He was also listing the powerful ways the Law blesses us
• The LAW of Yahweh is perfect – converting the soul (the Law is what truly converts a sinful soul)
• The STATUTES of Yahweh are right – rejoicing the heart (the Law is a source of great joy to the heart)
• The COMMANDMENT of Yahweh is pure – enlightening the eyes (the Law brings wisdom)
Defining the Law – the word translated as “Law” in the Old Testament means:
– “Law of Yahweh” is translated from the original Hebrew word Torah (to-raw), meaning: “A precept, or statute, especially the Decalogue, or Pentateuch: - Law” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, #8451).
Defining the Law – the word translated as “Law” in the New Testament means:
• “Law,” is the Greek word Nomos. Nomos, according to Strong’s Concordance (#3551), means: “Law, regulation, specifications of Moses, also of the Gospel, a principle.”
By these definitions, we know that the Law of Yahweh: is the complete Torah – or Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy
In the Words of Christ, we can clearly see that Yahshua did not come to do away with the Law, either in His Life or Death. The Law is still in full effect until Heaven and Earth pass away.
· “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets… For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, til all be fulfilled.” Matt 5:17-18
The Law of Yahweh is so important that it is actually the Standard by which we will all be judged:
• 2 Corinthians 10:12-13 “For we dare not… compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But… according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us…”
• James 2:10-12 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the Law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”
There are two Laws. We serve one or the other. One is the Law of Sin. The other is the Law of God.
· Romans 7:23-25 “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?… With the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Sin = Breaking the Law of God. Thus, without the Law, there would be no sin at all. This is one evidence that the Law of God existed even prior to God’s Creation of Earth. The Bible says that Iniquity – or sin – was first conceived in Lucifer’s Heart (in Heaven) – Ezekiel 28:14-15. If Lucifer could sin, and sin is Biblically defined as breaking the Law of Yahweh, then the Law of God must have been in existence in Heaven.
• 1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the Law.”
Obedience to God’s Law is a Salvational Issue. The Bible lists Law Breaking, calling it “The Works of the Flesh.” It also says that those who break the Law by doing these “works of the flesh” will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
• Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like… They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Spiritual Warfare is only effective when we also believe in obedience to God’s Law. Spiritual Bondage comes from Law-breaking. The more of God’s Law we break, the more strong are the enemy’s shackles that bind our souls.
“His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins,”
How We Come to Be in Bondage:
What causes a person to become enslaved to Satan in the first place? The answer is found in Proverbs 5:22:
Our own “iniquities” (our faults and sins) “shall take” (trap of catch in a net) the “wicked” (the ungodly) himself. And we are all “holden” (held fast) with “the cords” (rope or snare) of our sins.
What does “Holden in the cords of our sins” mean? It means we are unable to get free from the devil’s bondage.
Spiritual Warfare is NEUTRALIZED without Grace-empowered Obedience to God’s Law:
· According to Psalm 59:1-2, God will not hear our prayers if we have iniquity (or sin) in our lives.
· We are only Christ’s true disciples if we continue in His Word and know the Truth. For the Truth makes us free – John 8:31-32.
· What is the epicenter of Truth – from which all doctrine is checked – and out from which all Truth radiates?
o “To the Law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this Word, there is no Light in them,” Isaiah 8:20.
The Biblical Formula for True Success
· Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Law of Yahweh; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Walking in the Counsel of the Ungodly means – taking the advice of someone who disregards or breaks the Torah.
Standing in the Way of Sinners means – Hanging out with, and thinking, talking or acting like the Lawless world.
Sitting in the Seat of the Scornful means – disrespecting God’s Law either in our thinking or by allowing it in our associates.
Delighting in the Law of God means to:
- Delight to do God’s Will - Psalm 40:8
- Hide His Word in your heart (memorize Scripture) - Psalm 119:11
- Delighting in His Law protects me from affliction - Psalm 119:92
- When I love God, I will keep His Commandments - 1 John 5:3
Psalm 119:97 “O how love I Thy Law! It is my meditation all the day.”
Instead of Viewing God’s Law as a bunch of restrictions, we should understand it is our guardrail of protection against the enemy. It is our spiritual wall of protection. As we prayerfully study it and incorporate its principles into our lives and homes, we are spiritually rebuilding the Wall, restoring our spiritual defenses and God's Protection against the enemy.