In the Old Testament, Nehemiah is an outstanding example of a godly wall-builder. A careful reading of the entire book of Nehemiah will be a great blessing and encouragement to those who, like Nehemiah, have a sincere desire to be faithful to God even in these perilous times in which we live. Note several things about the life, ministry, attitudes, and actions of this faithful servant of the Lord—a true “fundamentalist”:
- He had a genuine love for God’s people and a concern for their welfare (1:3-4).
- This concern led him to fasting, prayer, and the confession of his own sins and those of the entire nation (1:4-10).
- He recognized his complete dependence upon God (1:11).
- He was ready to take action and move at God’s command (2:1-4).
- He experienced immediate blessing by God coupled with strong opposition from the enemies of God’s people (2:5-10).
- He was a diligent man with a burdened heart (2:11-16).
- He challenged others to help “build up the wall” (2:17-18).
- His enemies laughed him to scorn, but he did not quit because he was trusting in God’s help (2:19-20).
- Nehemiah’s enemies continued to harass and sought to intimidate these godly wall-builders (4:1-3), who wisely recognized the necessity of both prayer and watchfulness (4:9) and continued their God-ordained wall-building work even though that meant holding a weapon in one hand and a building tool in the other (4:17-18).
- Although it required long hours of work (4:21, 23), they were not discouraged, and they did not quit because they knew their God would fight for them (4:20).
In Nehemiah chapter six, the enemies of God’s people tried a new tactic—they proposed a conference to discuss possible reconciliation (6:1-2), but Nehemiah’s consistent refusal to fall into the enemy’s trap (6:3-4) is a good and scriptural example of how true believers should respond to similar tactics being used today by enemies of the gospel. Note carefully the emphasis upon the reading and exposition of the Word of God and the response it created in the hearts of the people (8:1-18)—sorrow for sin, rejoicing in God’s promises, and obedience to God’s Word. How greatly needed today is this kind of attention to the Word of God!
Chapter twelve of the book of Nehemiah relates the joy that comes to the obedient people of God (12:43-47), but the concluding thirteenth chapter of this timely portion of Scripture tells the sad story of what happens when God’s people compromise, and of the continual need for watchfulness and prompt, strong action that is necessary to preserve a pure, faithful testimony for God.
Although material walls of the kind Nehemiah and his co-workers built are no longer necessary, there is a greater need today than ever before to recognize the absolute necessity of building, maintaining, and repairing all God-ordained spiritual walls. This is not easy to do in a day when the cry of the world as well as the foolish echo heard in most churches today is: “Down with all walls! We need to build bridges rather than walls.” All kinds of false accusations are being made against God’s wall builders today, just as they were in the days of Nehemiah. False teachers and disobedient brethren are calling the spiritual walls God knows His people need “outdated,” “selfish,” “unloving,”—yes, even “un-christian.” God’s wall-builders are being accused of pride, jealousy, and stubborn-ness. Now, let those who love the Lord and desire to exalt His Word make sure that none of these accusations are true. Our service for the Lord will be fruitful and a blessing to all if we are fully yielded, desiring no personal gain or glory, and purposing by God’s grace never to quit because we are in the minority.
There is another important matter to consider. Many who are seeking to demolish all walls have undoubtedly been influenced by those who falsely claim that any who live within the spiritual walls God has set up are “prisoners” who need to be set free. In reality, they should appreciate the fact that God has provided spiritual walls as a wonderful protection for His obedient children.
Too many professing Christians today, having failed to understand the reason for God’s spiritual walls, jump at the chance to become “free,” not realizing that the freedom that comes to those who despise and reject God’s walls is actually slavery, not freedom (2 Peter 2:17-22). Those who live within God’s spiritual walls (Galatians 5:1; Romans 8:21) are the ones who enjoy genuine liberty. Believing adults, young people, children—yes believers of every age and situation—need to be reminded of these facts. Many spiritual tragedies befall those who have yielded to the siren song of a pseudo liberty—away from parental authority, away from the ministry of faithful pastors and uncompromising churches—seeking escape from scriptural reproof and rebuke in the false notion that, having rejected God’s walls, they can at last be free to do what they want to do when they want to do it.
Can anyone doubt that we are living in the last days before the return of Jesus Christ? Is any believer making a mistake by rejecting the things of the world that have such an appeal to the flesh but that will produce such tragic consequences? Fellow pastors, fellow believers—we all face tremendous challenges and opportunities. Let us be faithful in our own situation, and then let us do whatever we can to encourage those of like faith and conviction to stand and keep standing until our Lord returns. We must “strengthen the things which remain” (Revelation 3:2)! — Pastor M. H. Reynolds Jr. (1919-1997)