A True Woman Rebuilds Walls
Kay Arthur: I have just 50 minutes for this message, and I want to make sure that I get to the end of it where I am going to share with you seven precepts that I pray God will use in your life to guide you and to direct you in what God wants you to do in rebuilding the walls that have crumbled in our society and in our nation. We are in grave danger, and if we’re going to act, if we’re going to do anything, I believe it has to be now. It would have been better if we had started yesterday, or many yesterdays ago.
I want us to go to the Lord in prayer. It is my habit to show physically as I pray my dependence on God, but at 76, my left knee has found a nerve that won’t let me kneel anymore on it. So please know, and I know it’s the same with you, that we’re on our faces before a holy God.
Father, we bow before You now. O God, we ask that You would cup our faces in Your hands, and that You would speak to us intimately, that You would speak to us individually, that You would speak to us in a way that we know who You are and what You expect, that You would speak to us in such a way as to love us, to correct us, to reprove us, to encourage us, to exhort us, to motivate us, to mobilize us so that rather than crying out against You because we are women, that our hearts’ desire would be to know in all of its fullness what You want us to be as true women of God.
Lord, I feel inadequate for these things, but I thank You that my adequacy is of Jesus Christ. I ask now that You would sort out everything—You know I have enough for a couple of hours—that You would sort out everything, and that You would bring home just on target exactly what each one is to hear. Don’t let anyone walk out of this place without hearing Your voice very clearly and without saying, “Yes, Lord.”
I ask, Father, that if any are here who do not know You, and I believe there are, I pray that You would move them as You moved me at the age of 29 from a religion to a relationship. Father, would You set us free from sin? “For if the Son shall set us free, we shall be free indeed.”
So do Your work of redemption now. In Your name we pray, and we thank You. Amen.
As you look at the culture today, you can tell that we are in grave, grave danger. Society is absolutely broken. If you don’t know that, something is wrong. We have lost as a nation a fear of God. Our walls of protection and righteousness have come crashing down, and we are living in the rubble.
I am 76 years old. I didn’t come to know Jesus Christ until I was 29. I was raised in the church. I was baptized. I was confirmed. I thought I was a Christian because of the things I had gone through and because I was told I was a Christian. I grew up, and I didn’t understand that as a man or woman thinks in his heart, so he is. We’re to keep our heart and mind—they’re interchangeable in the Word of God—because out of it comes the issues of life.
I wanted to be married one time. I wanted the kind of life that I saw on TV, and that was the Father Knows Best kind. One where you had a wonderful, strong father, where you had a loving mother that respected her husband, and you had happy children, and you lived in a wonderful little American environment. That’s what I wanted.
My daddy taught me that men married good girls. They dated bad girls, but they didn’t marry them. I wanted to be married, and I decided that I would be a virgin when I walked down the aisle. A virgin I was, physically, at the age of 20, but not mentally.
My husband, Mr. Frank Thomas Getz, Jr. put a very huge and gorgeous diamond ring on my hand. It came out in the society section of the newspaper, although they were not society, it made it. I thought this was it. We went on our honeymoon. He sat me down. He looked at me in this beautiful environment in Bermuda, and said, “You are now Mrs. Frank Thomas Getz, Jr., and these are the things I don’t like about you, and I want them changed.” My life came crashing down.
We were married for six years. We had two sons. My husband went to seminary, and in seminary they did not study the Word of God, rather, they analyzed the Word of God. I thought he would look great in a white clerical collar after wearing his naval officer’s uniform, and I was excited about that. But my husband went into deep depression.
By now I had mink and money and modeling and misery. I asked my husband if he would go for counseling. He said, “No. You can go. I learned that stuff in seminary.” I went for counseling. Two men wearing white clerical collars counseled me. One, when he finished, came up, put his arms around me, kissed me on the neck, and whispered in my ear, “You sure are a good looking gal, Kay.” I did everything short of going all the way with that man.
I moved back to that area where Tom had gone to seminary. I had divorced my husband. I shook my fist in the face of God, and I said, “To Hell with You, God. I’ll see You around town.” I didn’t know, however, that before the foundation of the world, as Ephesians said, God had said, “To Heaven with you, Kay.”
And the only way that it could be, “To Heaven with me, Kay,” was, in essence, because Jesus Christ who knew no sin was made to be sin for me. He descended into Hell as the Creed says, and on the third day He arose again from the dead. Because He lives, I would have forgiveness of sins and an eternal life and a promise of living with Him.
After I shook my fist in the face of God and before I got saved, I went from one man to another man to another man. I got married in 1954. I got divorced in 1963 in the middle of the feminist movement. God brought this woman that did not want to be a feminist to her knees, where I fell down beside my bed on July 16, 1963, and cried out to God.
I said, “God, I don’t care if I never see another man as long as I live. I don’t care if You paralyze me from the neck down. I don’t care what You do to my two boys . . .” It wasn’t that I didn’t care. Those were the three worst things I could think of that could happen to me. I said, “If You will just give me peace.” That day, on July 16, 1963, the Lord gave me the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “Come now and let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, yet shall you be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18, paraphrased).
I found a verse in the Bible in Romans that was a quote from Hosea. It says, “And He called her beloved when there was nothing lovely about her.”
It was in ’63 that Betty Friedan brought in the Women’s Liberation Movement. It isn’t what it was called then, but it was a rebellion against what God had ordained for women. With that came a society that began to crumble because when you attack the family, you destroy a culture. That’s exactly what happened.
So where are we now? Well, family as we once knew it has almost disappeared. You and I have heard over and over again that half of all the marriages end in divorce. If you study the statistics carefully, and if you look at the lifestyle of Christians and the lifestyle of non-Christians, you see that statistically we are too close together. We are in desperate, desperate straits.
According to Wallerstein, Lewis, and Blakeslee in their work, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce . . . It’s a 25-year landmark study that came out in 2000. This is what it says, and listen carefully: “Two-out-of-three divorces are initiated by the wife.”
It’s the woman that is walking away. It is the woman who is saying that she doesn’t want to be married anymore. The percentage of women who get sole custody of their children in uncontested divorces is 65%. Compare that with dads—only 10% of dads get sole custody. The women who contest and go to battle, 75% of them get custody; 15% of the dads get custody. Men are demeaned; they are denigrated; they are billed as dead-beat dads. They are portrayed as anything but the leader and the man God ordained them to be.
I can’t stand to watch them, but if you flip on the sitcoms and things like this, you see men that are anything but what God intended men to be. The problem, I believe personally, is that a woman plays a major role in what a man is and the way that men are seen in our society.
Boys are falling behind in almost every academic category from standardized test scores to college enrollment rates. Boys make up 80% of the discipline problems, and this comes out in a book called The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Bailing Out in School and in Life by Gurian and Stevens that was published in 2005.
We are seeing everything geared for girls, and we are seeing women move out of the home into the work place. I’ve written a book called Uniquely Woman with two other godly women where we have done finishing schools for women to show them the art of becoming a woman of excellence. What has happened is we think that we can do it all. We have walked away from God’s plan for womanhood. We have believed a lie from the enemy.
We are living, consequently, in a morally degenerate society from the sexual liberation movement of the 60s and 70s, from addicts and prostitutes on the street to men and women in high places. We are an amoral generation. What was once hidden, what was once talked about or closeted behind closed doors is now out in the open. They think of nothing of sleeping with someone. It is just accepted outside of marriage.
Homosexuality was once a crime legally, a sin morally, and a psychological disorder mentally. Now it is acceptable in our society, an alternative lifestyle that is being pushed by this homosexual agenda that is going to literally destroy us. At one time even the thought of lesbianism or homosexuality was an absolute disgrace. Now it is counted cool to be bi-sexual.
Predators inhabit the Internet, and they are playing with young girls especially who need a friend. Donna Rice Hughes and I were talking about this, and she was telling me the story of this vulnerable young girl who this predator began to work on over a period of time. As he did, eventually he revealed himself as being a man who wanted to meet her at the age of 13. He told her where to go; she ends up going there. They’re having coffee in a public place, and he says, “I really can’t talk to you here. Let’s get in the car and go so and so.” He takes her home and puts a chain and a clamp around her neck.
We’re living in a society that is frightening and scary. I have a 12-year-old granddaughter whose mother died unexpectedly when she was just 11, turning 12. I think about my precious granddaughter who’s an attractive young lady, and the prey that is out there going after her.
Why is all this happening? I believe personally that it is the fault of those who have named the name of Jesus Christ. I believe we have allowed truth to perish in the streets. I’m not going to be very popular with you, but anyway, it’s not a popularity contest. I believe we are the products of marketers rather than the Word of God.
There are two books I want to recommend to you that have been written by a man I have only talked to over the phone, and that was after I read his first book. It’s called The Marketing of Evil. The second one David Kupelian just sent me, and it’s How Evil Works. This is a man who is on WorldNetDaily. This is a man who is a journalist. This is a man who is very educated. This is a man who loves Jesus Christ. I got this information from him.
Edward Burnays is the father of public relations. He’s a nephew of Sigmund Freud. He wrote, “We are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental process and social patterns of the masses. It is they, these few men, that pull the wires which control the public mind.”
Now listen, if you don’t know truth, if you don’t know the Word of God, if you do not know the whole counsel of God, if you do not know the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, if you have not studied to show yourself approved unto God, if you are a woman who says, “I am simply too busy to study the Word of God,” I’m telling you that you and your children and those you associate with are open to these men who want to pull the strings of your emotions and the emotions of your children. They want to market evil to you because they are from the pit of Hell.
Jesus Christ prayed for us in John chapter 17 as He finished His earthly work, as He was on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane. This is what He prayed: He said, “Father, I don’t ask You to take them out of the world, but I ask You to keep them from the evil one. Father, sanctify them, set them apart, sanctify them by Thy truth.” And what does the rest of the verse say? You say it with me—“Thy Word is [what?] truth.” It’s truth (John 17:15-17, paraphrased).
I believe that what has happened is that society has lost the fear of God because the church neglected the Word of God, and they believed the higher criticism that came from Julius Wilhoussen and others that challenged the veracity of God’s Word for the first time in history, and we bought a lie. Satan is the father of lies. Jesus turned to the religious leaders, and He says, “You are of your father the devil, and the works of the devil you want to do. He was a liar from the beginning, and he abides not in the truth.”
You and I as women of God have the most important calling. It’s my passion. It’s why I don’t retire. It’s why I get up, have my quiet time, work all day, and write and study and work in a ministry that is in 150 countries and 70 languages. I’m devoted to one thing and one thing only, and that is to establish people in God’s Word as that which produces reverence for Him so that we might be a planting of the Lord, oaks of righteousness bearing the fruit of righteousness and stepping in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation holding forth the Word of Life unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ because we know our God. As Daniel 11:32 says, “But the people who know their God will be able to stand firm and not only stand firm, but they will be able to take action” (paraphrased).
If you look at what’s happening, our nation is experiencing something it has never ever experienced before, and that is this: Laws are being passed, not against our actions, but against what we think. If you don’t know that, you look at the free speech, you look at the fairness doctrine, you look at these other things, and I’m telling you, they want you. They don’t care if you’re a Muslim; they don’t care if you’re a Buddhist; they don’t care because it’s a war against truth, and Jesus is the way; He is the truth; He is the life. You can know with absolute certainty that no man is ever going to come to the Father except through Him.
We are living in desperate, desperate times. This society that once called sin, sin; this society that once had a fear of God; this society that once proclaimed God’s Word; that once would have had prayer . . . When our president came into office, he refused to attend the National Day of Prayer. We’re in trouble. We are in big, big trouble. And you say, “It’s gone. It’s lost. It’s over.” Oh, no, it’s not over, because I’m here, and you’re here, and we are going to be what God wants us to be as women of God—walking and, like Joshua, not turning to the right and not turning to the left.
I prayed for Nancy. We all prayed for Nancy. We’re at the National Religious Broadcasters, and she did not know what she was going to speak on. I know what she’s going to speak on tomorrow, and it’s right down along this line, and that is being a Deborah. That is all I’m going to say because I would like to teach it, too.
So is there any hope? Yes. But it begins with us. It begins—now listen carefully—with women who know God. You’ve got to know God. You have to be absolutely convinced that God is God, that He says what He means, and He means what He says. As God says in Jeremiah chapter 1, “He watches over His Word to perform it, and what He speaks will surely come to pass” (verse 12, paraphrased).
So we need to be women who know God, who know His Word, because to know God is to know His Word. As the psalmist says, “He has magnified His Word together with His name” (Psalm 138:2, paraphrased). It means the Word of God stands because God stands. God stands, and the Word of God stands.
We need to be the women that God has ordained for us to be. But listen carefully, we must act now. Time is short. We must sit down and evaluate our lives and see where we’re going and what God’s call is on our lives.
What I want to do is I want to take you for just a minute to what I believe that God wants us to learn. I’ve been teaching through the Old Testament, writing inductive Bible study courses on it. I just finished Isaiah. I just finished Jeremiah. I am writing Ezekiel and Zechariah right now. I’ve done all the Minor Prophets and, of course, I’ve done Daniel. I’m telling you—what a journey it has been.
I know my God. I know my God. I know why I was born. I know why I’m living. I know where I’m going. I know how to get there, and I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ because it is the power of God unto salvation. It is not just salvation from sin, but salvation from the penalty of sin, salvation from the power of sin, and salvation from the presence of sin.
You and I have got to know God. This is why it is my passion to take you and the men of our ministry, our ministry is run by men, but to take people, to take the children—we have children’s inductive study courses. You’ll see it. Those kids can tell you all about Revelation. They can give you the details of Daniel. They can take you through Genesis. They know it, and they understand it, and they’re able to sit and say, “What that man is saying on television, that’s not right. That’s not what Jonah says” or “That’s not what Daniel says.” They are learning the Word of God.
When you go to Romans chapter 15, it tells you that “the things that were written beforehand were written for our instruction upon whom the end of the ages has come to pass” (verse 4, paraphrased). Now, I don’t know about you, but if I didn’t know the Word of God, and I didn’t understand, in as much detail as God gives us, what is coming in the future, I would be so frustrated with the times in which we are living. But these are times that are predicted. These are difficult days when men will be lovers of themselves, etc.
So what I want to do is I want to learn. So how do I live? If the Old Testament was given for my instruction upon whom the end of the ages has come, if the Old Testament was written so that I might have encouragement, so that I might hope, if the Old Testament is where I’m introduced to God, and that’s where you’re introduced to God, that’s where you get your theology, that’s where you find out who God is and how He operates, and His character, and His attributes, and His names and that. I believe that the church in the United States is spiritually impoverished and impotent because they don’t know God. But when you go to the Old Testament, what do you learn?
Jot this down: Okay, this is going to be quick. I want you to go to Isaiah chapter 1 because these things were written for our encouragement. I want you to see what God is saying to His people. Now this is His covenant nation. This is the nation to whom belonged the covenants and the promises and the commandments and the Word of God and the genealogy that is going to lead us to Jesus, the Son of God. This is what he says in verse 2: “Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; for the Lord speaks, ‘Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, a donkey its master’s manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand.’” Duh! That’s the way they are.
“Alas, sinful nation.” Now see if this doesn’t describe us. “People weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly. They have abandoned the Lord. They have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him” (1:2-4).
God is there. God cares. There’s a book out there called God, Are You There? Do You Care? Do You Know About Me? It’s a study on the gospel of John to teach you to study inductively, to go to the Word of God yourself. In your little bags you’re going to see a bookmark. That bookmark has ways for you to learn how to study on it and to lead you to study. We’ve got to know God’s Word for ourselves.
So what these people have done is they have revolted against God. They have turned away from God. And I want to ask you a question: What about you? What about you? What importance does your communion have with God? What importance does the Word of God have with you? Do you have the time to read the works and writings of men and women? Even though they’re godly, that’s the writing of a finite human being. What are you doing preferring the books of men and the Christian novels above the Word of God? What is wrong?
God has spoken. His Word is absolute pure truth. It’s alive. It’s powerful. It’s sharper than any two-edged sword. It discerns the thoughts and intents of my heart. It’s a lamp unto my feet. It’s a light unto my path. And I am to study to show myself approved unto God, handling it accurately.
So this is the state. Now, I told you I have two hours of material and 50 minutes to do this in, so I can’t stay there. Go to Jeremiah. Jeremiah comes 54 years later, after Isaiah finishes his ministry. Tradition tells us in Hebrews 11 that when it talks about some being sawed in two that Manasseh sawed Isaiah in two because of his prophecy.
In Jeremiah chapter 2, he talks about his people, and he says in Jeremiah 2:13, “My people have committed two evils.” Now he’s talking. It’s like God was talking to the church. Have you got it? He’s talking to His covenant people. He’s talking to the nation of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a people that He’s made an everlasting covenant with. He saying, “My people have committed two evils.” Now, you would number them if you look at them. Number one is, “They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters” (verse 13). Here I am, and I am the wellspring. Your body is about 95% water. And He says, “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters. They have turned away from Me.”
The second evil is: They have gone over here, and they have dug cisterns, “they hewn cisterns, which are broken cisterns which cannot hold water” (verse 13). In other words, they have tried in their own efforts to satisfy their desires to collect water than cannot satisfy them. This is the state of the people.
So Jeremiah comes along. Isaiah’s prophesied 54 years have passed. Jeremiah comes along, and he’s the prophet, and God has said, “You go. You speak everything. Don’t be dismayed by their faces.” And that’s God’s Word to you and to me today. We’re to know God. We’re to know as Jeremiah has told in chapter 1 that God watches over His Word to perform it, and we are to proclaim it.
He sends Jeremiah to a disobedient people, to a rebellious people, to a people that have been morally like a horse, neighing after a mare in her heat. He’s saying, “I have talked to you and talked to you and talked to you. You are My wife, and I am saying, ‘Return to Me. Return to Me, and I will return to you. All you have to do is come back, but if you don’t, I want you to know the enemy is at the gate. The enemy is standing outside.’”
The Babylonians come, and they laid siege to Jerusalem. As they laid siege to Jerusalem, in that final, final siege, God is still saying, “Return, return. Repent.” It’s the twelfth most used verb in the Old Testament. This is the heart of God. Wherever you are, whatever you have done, you are alive. You’re breathing. God has a purpose. He wants to make a true woman of you, and all you have to do is return to Him.
But they don’t listen. They stop up their ears. So the Babylonians come, and they laid siege to the city, and it is so bad. Listen, it is so bad that they eat their children. They’re eating their children because they want to stay alive. In a sense, this is what we are doing to our children.
So you have Jeremiah in the land. Ezekiel is taken captive in the second siege of Jerusalem in 597 B.C. Let’s say this is Jerusalem, over here is Babylon, which is modern-day Iraq, and Ezekiel is taken over here. God appears to Ezekiel, and He says, “I am sending you to a rebellious and disobedient people, and I am telling you to say to them—Ezekiel 2, verses 7-8—I am telling you to go to these people, and I am asking you to speak to them whether they listen or not.”
God wants to raise you and me up. He wants us to be His voice, His messenger in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. We are to take that message, whether they listen or not, we are to proclaim truth so that it brings conviction and/or it brings knowledge of what God is going to do.
In Ezekiel chapter 13 you find God talking about what has happened. He says in verse 4, “O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among the ruins. You have not gone up into the breeches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord” (verses 4-5).
If you and I will present truth, if you and I will teach our children, if we will teach our grandchildren, if we will teach our nieces, our nephews, if we will bring before them the Word of God without shame, without apology, without embarrassment, and do it in a neat way, and do it in an interesting way—I think it’s a crime for a Bible teacher to be a bore. But anyway, if we will do that, precious ones, then they will be exposed to truth. When the lie comes, they should be able to distinguish between the two.
But these false prophets have seen the holes in the walls. Now the holes in the walls are where the enemy is going to come through. They have seen the holes, but they have not gone into the breeches to build up the walls.
In Ezekiel chapter 22, which is a great chapter for those that want to understand what abortion is going to do to our land because it is a bloody city for all the lives that have been taken. In Ezekiel chapter 22, in verse 23 to 29, he talks about the corruption—the corruption of the priests, the corruption of the princes, the rulers, the corruption of the prophets, the corruption of the people. It is a day that is like our day.
And then God says this in verse 30: “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; and I found no one.” If you had been there would you have waved your white hanky and said, “Wait a minute. Here I am. Here I am. I see the breeches in the walls. I see what’s happening. I see what’s crumbling in our society, and I’m going to go and stand in the wall. I’m going to build up the breech.” Or are you going to come over here and make daisy chains? Are you going to spend your time getting beautified on the outside and not beautified on the inside by the Word of God?
Despite these godly prophets, the people did not listen, and God brought destruction to the city. The temple was torn down, destroyed, flattened, the walls were destroyed. They were left as rubble. The people were taken in chains into bondage. Some motley crew was left in Jerusalem, and it looked like all was lost.
But you know what? God is God. He does not change. From the very beginning, He is a God who is a redeemer. Before the foundation of the world, He knew Adam and Eve would sin, that by one man, death would come upon all mankind because all have sinned. And yet, before the foundation of the world, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit planned our redemption so that in the fullness of time, Jesus Christ would come. He would be born of a virgin, born without sin, tempted in all points as you and I are, and yet, resisting the devil. He would go to the cross, and Jesus who knew no sin would be made to be sin for you and for me that you and I might be made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus so that we who were living in sin might be set free, so that we who were living in darkness might come into the light, so that we who were children of the devil might become children of God and live with Him in His presence forever and ever and ever.
This is what God did. Israel sinned, but God was not through with them. They went into captivity for 70 years, just as Jeremiah had told them. Then Cyrus the Persian mounts the throne, conquering the Babylonians. God lays in his heart, just as He said He would do 120 years previous. He raises up Cyrus; He has named him in Isaiah. He proclaims him and brings him to the floor in the book of Ezra. Cyrus makes a decree and says, “You can go back, and you can rebuild.”
I don’t know where you’ve been. I don’t know what you’ve done. I can tell you that my life isn’t as rosy as you think. I can tell you that I have been through trials that I thought I would never, ever go through just in the past four years. I can tell you that the pain could have been excruciating if I didn’t know my God. I just finished a book; it will come out in October. It’s called When the Hurt Runs Deep. I’ve had that book on my heart for years. I just wrote it, and I know why God stopped me from writing it until this time.
God is a redeemer, and so under Ezra they go back, and they start to rebuild the temple. They stop because they become discouraged. What happens is they begin to build their own houses and panel their own houses. This is what we’re doing in the United States of America. We are so busy earning more and more money that we are out in the marketplace when we need to be at home mothering our children, going with less. They are not going to suffer unless you are not with them mothering them as you should be mothering them.
So these people had to have more. God sends the prophet Haggai, and he says, “Are you saying it’s time not to build the house of the Lord? You’re building your own houses. Why do you think you’re having problems with the crops? Why do you think you’re having problems with the weather? Why do you think you’re having trouble and your purses seem to have holes and the money is going right through your pockets? I’m trying to get your attention.”
Between the beginning of Ezra and the end of Ezra and the rebuilding of the temple is the story of Esther and Mordecai who have come to the kingdom for such a time as this, who are willing to lay down their lives in order to save the lives of their people. So Esther makes her famous statement. “If I perish, I perish. I am going to do what’s right” (see Esther 4:16).
What about you, precious one? I wish I were down off this platform. I wish I were walking the aisles. I wish I could get to you face to face. I would say to you, “Do you realize that you are living today because God has a purpose; God has a calling on your life?” Yes, you’re living in a society that is full of rubble, but you know the Great Rebuilder. You know the Great Redeemer, and if you don’t know Him, you need to get to know Him. Once you know Him, it says the people who know their God will be able to stand firm, and they will be able to do exploits, to take action for God.
We have Ezra and we have Nehemiah. Nehemiah is a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, who is the father of King Ahasuerus.
In Nehemiah chapter 1 it says, “Now it happened in the month of Chislev . . . that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. They said to me, ‘The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity [these are people that went back to the land] are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire" (verses 1-3).
In other words, everything is in a mess. There are very few of us. We have come back to the land, and I want you to know that it is so bad that those walls that have been down for 141 years are still down. They’re living in rubble. They’re living in ruins. It is a reproach not to have the walls up as a protection.
When you and I look at Nehemiah, this is what I want you to think: I want you to think about our society. I want you to parallel our society and the broken down condition of our society and our walls with the broken down condition in the land of Jerusalem.
Now, Nehemiah is in court. It is the 20 th year of King Artaxerxes. He is the cupbearer of the king—a job in which your life is in jeopardy if they hate the king. You’re drinking his wine, you will be the first to die. So what happens is Nehemiah hears about the situation.
If you look at Ezra, and you look at the people Zerubbabel, and you look at Joshua, the high priest, and you look at Haggai, and then you come over here and you look at Esther, and you look at Mordecai, they’re all in a different situations. Then you come over here and you look at Nehemiah.
They’re all in different situations, and what you and I need to realize is that God doesn’t have us all in the same place, all doing the same thing, because there is a multiplicity of tasks that need to be done if we are going to rebuild the walls and rebuild what sin has destroyed.
So let me give you seven quick—and this is very quick—seven quick precepts for success on how to rebuild what is destroyed.
Number one: What do you see that is broken? Look around you. Look in your family. What is broken in your family? Look in your child’s life. Look in his education. Look at your husband’s life. Look at the home. Look at the way the family relates. Is there anything broken? Because it begins with the home—you build a strong family, and then you can build a strong society, you can build a stronger church, you can build a stronger society. So look in your home first. Look in your neighborhood. Look in your culture. Look and see what is broken and what needs repaired.
Number two: You need to then go to God and ask if you are to be involved in what is broken. How do you find out? Very quickly. Nehemiah chapter 1, verse 4: “When I heard these words [about the broken condition], I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” The first thing you need to do is sit down. Quit running around. Quit being busy. Listen to the song: Sit still; sit down, and then weep. Weep over the situation. Let your heart be broken with the things that break God’s heart.
Then you need to—and this is part of number two—you need to fast. You need to pray. You need to seek God’s face. You need to put that food aside, and he does this for days. Then you need to confess your sin. As you read this, you’ll see him confessing his sin and the sins of his fathers and saying to God, “God, I agree with You. We’re in this situation because of sin.” So you acknowledge sin. “If we confess our sin, He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). If we cover our sins, we will not prosper.
Then the next thing you need to do is you need to be convinced that God will act according to His Word and according to His promises. God watches over His Word to perform it. In here you see Nehemiah saying to God: "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them . . . I will gather you and will bring you to the place where I have chosen’” (verses 8-9).
What is he saying? He’s saying, “God, this is what Your Word says.” And so what you need to do is you need to get a hold of the Scripture and remind God of what His Word says and call Him to do so.
The last point under are you to be involved is: Are You putting anything into my mind? In chapter 2 in verse 12, he says, “And I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting in my mind to do.” He wasn’t going to do it until he inspected things, until he saw things as they really were.
Number three: You need to ask God, “How am I going to do it?” Listen, faithful is He who calls you who will also do it. Whatever God is calling you to do, God will perform it if you will walk in faith. So under “How are you going to do it?” you need to ask for success. In chapter 1, verse 11, he says, “"O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant . . . make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man." And you need to do it even if you are afraid. You will see that Nehemiah’s knees were knocking when the king asked him what was wrong.
The next thing that you need to do under “How you are going to do it” is you need to enlist others who see the need where they are living. When he got ready to rebuild the walls in Nehemiah chapter 3, you see everyone in his neighborhood building the wall. Men and women were building the wall that was in front of them, protecting them. You cannot do it alone. You need to enlist the prayers of your husband; you need to enlist the help of others.
Number four: Don’t be distracted by opposition without or opportunists within. In Nehemiah chapter 4, chapter 5, chapter 6 you see that they had enemies that were trying to stop them from without.
When you and I get ready to rebuild, the enemy is not going to want you to rebuild. He’s going to do everything that he can, but you do not get derailed. You do not get discouraged. You are not to be defeated by opposition from without and then opportunists within. The nobles wouldn’t work. Others were causing chaos within. They were making money, usury off of one another, and Nehemiah had to deal with that.
The enemy wants to do everything that he can to get you to come down off the wall and pay attention to him. Nehemiah is going to say, “How can I come down off this wall and be with you? I’ve got a job to do.” You and I need to be “steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58, KJV).
Number five: You are to fear God and not man. He says, “[When I saw their fear], I rose and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: ‘Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses’” (4:14). That’s what you and I are to do. We are not to be afraid. We are to fight.
Then number six: You need to stay in constant communication with God. You see this all the way throughout Nehemiah. He’ll say, “Remember me, my God. O my God, remember me. O my God, do this. O my God, do that.” He’s constantly talking with God.
Number seven—the last one: Don’t let down your guard. Hold to God’s standard and deal with evil. Nehemiah leaves. He has to go back to the king. He has to go back to Persia. He gets back there, he comes home, and evil has crept in. The people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They’ve got an enemy living in the temple area, and Nehemiah has to go in and he picks up all of the enemy’s stuff, and he throws it out of the house.
Don’t let down your guard. You watch. You know what your kids are doing, what they’re watching. You watch what they’re reading, and you remember that there is an enemy out there who is out to get the mind and the heart of your child. You need to realize that you are the one, with your husband, who is to build that wall of protection around them. I’m telling you, there is nothing more important because they are the next generation.
We’re in trouble because, like Israel, we’ve forsaken the fountain of living waters, and we’ve dug out cisterns that cannot hold water. We have forgotten who God is. We have lost the knowledge of Him, and when you lose the knowledge of Him, you lose the fear of Him. We have entangled ourselves with the affairs of this life.
We have listened to the false prophets that tickle our ears and say, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. We think that God’s righteousness and holiness can be compromised, but God is a God of justice. God is a God of righteousness, and His righteousness and His holiness command His judgment and His wrath. We forget that God has to watch over His Word to perform it. When we sin, and we do not listen, He has to act in judgment.
We have forgotten, many of us, that the lovingkindnesses of the Lord do not cease. His mercies are new every morning. You and I need to come to Him. We need to return to Him. We need to quit weeping about a past that we cannot change and believe a God who promises us a future and a hope.
You and I need to do business with God, and I’ve been given permission by Nancy to take us into a moment of prayer, and it will be a moment since I’ve gone over, but I want us to go to the Lord in prayer. I want you to talk to the Lord. I want you to ask God how has He spoken to your heart? What has He said to you? I believe He has, and I believe if you’re not hearing anything, it’s because you’re not listening.
So what would He have you to do? Where would He have you to begin? Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
Father, You know all things. All things are naked and open to Your sight. If we take the wings of the morning and dwell on the uttermost parts of the sea, You’re there. If we say the darkness will cover me, even the night will be light about us. You are omniscient, all knowing. You are omnipresent. You are El Roi, the God who sees. Speak to us now. Let us do business with You in the light of what we’ve heard through James MacDonald, through myself, and through the others last night.
Father, show us what has been torn down, what is broken, what has turned into rubble, and show us why, God. Show us why. Father, I pray that when we get home that we will take all that we have heard, and we will go and we will sit down and weep over the brokenness of the daughters of Your people, that we will mourn, that we will fast, even if it’s one meal, and that we would pray, that we would confess sin, the sins of our fathers as well as ours. Then we would ask You what You would have us to do.
Father, You know that I never intended to give my testimony, but I believe that You wanted it to show some women here that she’s not walked too far away from You to be redeemed, or to show her that it doesn’t matter what her past was. She doesn’t have to sit on the back pew of the church and be ashamed and think You could never use her. But, Father, that she would go home, and she would begin to search the Scriptures so that she might see the great love with which You have loved us, that even when we were sinners, even when we were helpless, even when we were ungodly, even when we were enemies, that Christ died for us, and that if You did not spare Your own Son but delivered Him up for us when we were in that condition, will You not with Him freely give us everything that pertains to life and godliness?
O Father, I pray that You would bring that woman to a complete surrender to You. Make her a brand new creature in Christ Jesus and use her for Your glory and Your kingdom.
Father, thank You. Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundant above all that we can ask or think, to Him be power and glory in the church of Jesus Christ. And all God’s people said, “Amen.”
All Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
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