Building The Walls
Nehemiah 3 is a remarkable chapter. It catalogues the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls and gates, all of which was finished in an astonishing 52 days. It is delightful to see the way in which the people worked together in order to build, repair and strengthen the city. There was independence, in the sense that each person had a specific place, role and responsibility; yet there was also interdependence as all were working together for the same cause. There was co-ordination, order and unity. That sounds like a model local church to me!
Let’s be clear and honest. Local church testimony needs constant building and strengthening. Ideally any local church is full of believers with their hands to the plough. We each have different spiritual gifts, roles and responsibilities (independence), and yet we are united in the single aim of bringing glory and honour to the Lord Jesus (interdependence). 1 Cor. 12.18: 'But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.'
Now this may come as a surprise, but the truth is illustrated in this chapter. Building and strengthening the walls of local assembly testimony begins in our homes. Spirituality and holiness is not something turned on for show when we get to the gatherings of the saints. It is a lifelong cultivation which begins in the secret place with God in our own homes. In Nehemiah 3, some people worked on the gates (v.1); others by the broad wall (v.8); and still others at the turning of the wall (v.20); but six times it is recorded that individuals worked over against their houses or chambers. What can we learn from some of these individuals?
Take Jedaiah (v.10). His name means ‘praise’ or ‘know Jehovah’. Is the Person of the Lord Jesus known and praised in my home? Some say Jedaiah’s name means ‘invoker of God’. Is my home marked by private and collective prayer?
What about Hashub (v.23). His name means ‘much esteemed’ or ‘considerate’. This should describe my character and the way I treat others in my home. I cannot treat those of my household with contempt and then pretend to be considerate in the local assembly to my spiritual brethren.I trust we highly esteem God’s people when we are talking about them at home too. Children may be listening; God certainly is.
Consider Zadok (v.29), meaning ‘just’ or ‘upright’. What a challenge. We each have a responsibility, whether as grandparents, parents or children, to maintain and promote moral purity in our homes. There should be nothing seen or heard at home that we would be ashamed to have revealed in the local assembly.
It has been well said: ‘A church is no stronger than its homes.’ Let us seek to build and repair the walls of assembly testimony, beginning with ourselves and our homes.
Daniel Rudge is in fellowship with the assembly that meets in Bracknell Gospel Hall (UK) and with his wife is commended to full time preaching and teaching of the Word of God.