1 Now when the wall was rebuilt and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites were appointed, 2 then I put Hanani my brother, and Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many. 3 Then I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot, and while they are standing guard, let them shut and bolt the doors. Also appoint guards from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, each at his post, and each in front of his own house.” 4 Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few and the houses were not built.
Examine / Explain
Though the wall was rebuilt and the gates hung. There was more city than people. Nehemiah appointed men who were known as God-fearing men to be in charge. He gave instructions on how to protect the city.
How do I apply this to my life?
The thought that came to mind was, “How am I protecting my heart?” What guards am I putting in place? Do I have trustful God-fearing men around me who know the inner workings of my heart? One thought about not opening the gates to the city until the sun is hot is that the guards may be more awake or alert to the traffic going in and out of the city. When am I being lazy guarding my heart? Are there points in the day when sinful thoughts are more easily getting through? Am I distracted by what is going on outside the “city”? And this allows malicious intent to come through my front door? Do I allow the enemy to get me focused so inwardly that I don’t even pay attention to the gates? Do I start worrying about self-worth, relationships, and pride, and this allows my mind to open to even more sin or suggestion to do evil? What do I allow into my heart? What thoughts am I battling with instead of taking EVERY thought captive and making it obedient to Christ? There should be no battle. Through Christ, I can demolish arguments and pretensions that are against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5) The battle exists because we love sin. We love to feel in control, and we don’t like pain. So, we get into arguments within ourselves to convince us that sin is okay. It’s not that big of a deal. Israel came out of eighty years of captivity because they were not living for the Lord. Are we going to be known as God-fearing men? What guards do we have in place to keep us that way? Where are the gaps, and what am I letting in that is counter to God’s plan?
What is my response?
Father, I am a man. I do allow times of battle with thoughts and sin. Not that we can’t have thoughts, but I believe more often than not if we entertain the thoughts, it will lead to action that is sinful. That is why you tell us to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Some days, the battles over my heart are harder fought than others, but they are fought. And You have already won that war. My heart is Yours, but my flesh wants to say otherwise. Lord, remind me of the guards at the doorway of my heart. In my moments of being tired, lazy, or hungry remind me to keep fighting and not get complacent, passive, or apathetic. I want to pursue You wholeheartedly. I need the strength and endurance to keep going. I need You. I must be in Your presence daily if I am going to make it to the finish line and hear, “Well done!”