A time to build
It appears to me that we’re in the business of walls; pulling them down and building them up.
As I finished the book of Nehemiah, it occurred to me that one of Israel’s most significant achievements before the close of the Old Testament was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem.
It reminded me of their first victory in the Promised Land. In a rather spectacular fashion, God pulled down the wall of Jericho. Israel didn’t have to do a thing except obey the command to walk the perimeter. This resulted in celebration, worship and … plunder. All the riches within the city were put in treasury of the Lord’s house. And everything else was burned.
Conversely, for the remnant returning from Exile it was a time to build. They overcame significant opposition and learned to rely solely on God for everything; provisions, protection and direction. When the job was completed there was great celebration and worship and the riches previously plundered were reclaimed and restored.
I realised that, just like the Israelites of the Old Testament, we too are in the business of pulling downs walls and building them up.
Or more to the point,
We’re in the business of getting out of the way so God can pull down walls and re-build us.
1. Clearing the way
But before God can build, our walls need to come down. The fortresses we hide behind … or stand upon; our ambitions, goals, desires, have to go. Anything we have erected that inhibits the flow of relationship between us and God needs to be demolished. Or in other words, we must die so that He may live.
2. Preparing the foundation
Then, fully exposed, broken and vulnerable, aware of our bankruptcy and inability to contribute anything of worth, we are ready to begin. For it is only when we are silenced by the truth of our situation, our utter wretchedness, that we are able to connect, listen and learn. Not only does our wall have to come down, the rubble has to be completely burned before a foundation can be established.
3. Selecting bricks
Then it’s a matter of building the wall, brick by brick. When you cook with your kids, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a total disaster, it’s about quality time and learning skills.
However, when you’re building a house to withstand the elements, you employ professionals. We may want to help God build the wall. We may have great ideas as to what we need, what would look good, or even what kind of stones to use. But in the end, it’s about getting out of the way and allowing God to do His job.
He built the world. He can re-build us.
As each brick is laid upon the foundation of Christ, we need to ask, is this God’s brick or mine? In every step we take, every word, action, reaction or response, we’re making a choice.
Him or us. It can’t be both.
Last week I accepted the invitation to step out of the busyness to spend time with God on a more intimate level. I wove a few new practices into my life, but the hardest challenge of all was physically removing myself from my desk each day to stroll with God. Especially with the added workload resulting from having children ‘learning from home’. I am ashamed to admit that it wasn’t long before I turned this into just another task to tick off my list. On my walk I had,
- Prayed for others
- Prayed for myself
- Walked up and down the hill
- Exercised the dog.
It was a win, win, win … win.
A time to build
Added to that shame was the fact that I was so busy patting myself on the back for getting out of the slipstream and sitting in the quiet pools that it took me most of the week to hear what God was actually trying to say. My stroll with Him wasn’t about the daily prayer and anointing,
“It was all about celebration, worship and plunder.”
As a task-oriented, work-acholic who is ruled by to-do lists and deadlines, this was both an awakening and a releasing. The expectations evaporated and the to-do list was incinerated. No longer did I see my stroll with God as one more thing ‘I had to do’, it became a thing I longed to do. It was purely time to connect and receive the full blessing of our abundant God.
That’s the plunder bit.
These steepings have now become a necessary highlight of my day.
Since Easter, God has been taking me back over old ground with new eyes:
- The Son died for me, am I prepared to die for Him?
- Christ was broken for me, am I prepared to break and learn from Him?
- My Lord set aside His glory for me, am I prepared to set aside the world for Him?
- Through Christ, God built the world, and now is the time to build me.
- What about you? Have you felt challenged to see old truths in new light?
- Or perhaps there have been some new truths through old eyes?