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Breezin’ Through the Bible, #21, Building Walls

March 11, 2014

Building Walls

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” wrote the poet, Robert Frost, as he and his neighbor surveyed their broken wall. They walked companionably to survey the damage that weather, animals, and hunters had accomplished, and they repaired their wall. “Good fences make good neighbors,” the poet decided. Nehemiah, in 405 BC and cup-bearer to the king of Persia, grew concerned when his brother in Jerusalem informed him that the wall in Jerusalem was broken. Nehemiah knew a city without a wall was defenseless against its neighbors. Enemies must be kept out  and citizens must be kept safe. The king gave him safe return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall.

In an earlier return of the exiles, Ezra had preceded Nehemiah to rebuild the temple. The work was hampered when enemies thwarted the work which took twenty years to complete. When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he rode around the wall to inspect the damage. He saw Jerusalem lying in ruins, the wall in shambles, and its gates burned. Then he inspired the people. God will help us rebuild the walls and protect us, he assured the workers and their families.

Enemies of the Jewish people continued to laugh at their attempts and attack the workers. Nehemiah persisted. Families set up tents surrounding the workers to protect them from invaders. Half of the men held weapons while the other half worked. The workers were assembled by trumpets whenever a portion of the huge wall was attacked. Nehemiah showed good sense, courage and persistence, while he continually prayed to God.

They prayed and they worked. Prayer connected them to the power of God. The wall was completed in 52 days. Then they held a great feast and celebration. Ezra, the priest, read from the Book of the Law of Moses, and the people listened and understood.

Yet again many of the people and even the priests strayed from the faith. God called Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets to warn the people to honor God and obey his laws, to give to God and the poor. Build the walls of your soul with stones of prayer and God will keep you safe.

Thank you, my reader, for traveling the Old Testament with me. Please forgive my many errors that cannot all be attributed to typos. I will begin our journey in the New Testament next week, as we continue to breeze through the Bible. I “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 118; 29)                  Patricia

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