Nehemiah could have rested, as far as a wine taster could rest, in his position of comfort and the trust of Artaxerxes. Upon hearing the news of the plight of Jerusalem, his heart and spirit were stirred to pray to God not just for himself, but for his people. The whole sad history of the Old Testament is of a people who were chosen by God. Those people strayed from God’s leadership into self-centeredness and worship of false gods. A threat would usually appear to the people who would then realize that they needed God’s help in solving the problem. After God rescued them, the people would renew their commitment to the Lord and go about their daily lives as the cycle started over. Nehemiah saw that the root cause of the distress of the people was the fact that the people had sinned (Neh. 1:6-7). The defeat and distress of the people were the result of their unfaithfulness, as God had predicted (Deut. 4:25-27). But, God also promised to be faithful to them if they repent and return to Him (Deut. 4:29-31, Neh. 1:9).
Can this be a picture of the Christian church, if not now, in the near future? Are our walls broken down and out gates burned? Perhaps not in the literal sense of structures. But, the church is under attack in this day both from without and within. The Christian church has been told widely and vociferously that it is behind the times on many issues. Recently, a candidate for President asserted that “deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs” have to be changed in order for women to have access to “reproductive health care,” meaning abortion. Christians are derided regularly in the media as being hateful, bigoted, homophobic, and misogynistic. Meanwhile, in the church, false teaching abounds. According to the Prosperity Gospel, the Creator of the universe is likened to a slot machine dispensing a jackpot. How many Christians actually have a Christian worldview? According to a Barna survey from 2009, only 19% of Christians hold to the tenets of a Biblical worldview. That same survey showed that only 47% of Christians “strongly reject the notion of earning salvation through their deeds.” Perhaps our walls are showing some breakage, gaps, and cracks. Perhaps our gates aren’t as strong as they used to be.
At this point in the account, Nehemiah had a prayer, but he didn’t have a plan. What was he going to do?
“Mark, why are you a Christian Apologist?”