Sound the Alarm!
Blow the Shofar!
Gather all of God’s people who will hear!
This is the first prong of two where I feel compelled to make a big noise. I want to: Prod my brothers and sisters who are working hard and pursuing God’s highest; Disturb the backsliders who once knew God but have been seduced by misguided ideologies; and Admonish the lukewarm believers who know God but have let life’s distractions an addictions keep them from a pursuit of the Holy. I feel the darkness over the Earth has intensified. Sin is no longer hidden. Those who practice it boast about it; they are anti-life and anti-God. When members of congress met for the State of the Union address last month and wore on their coat jackets a heart abortion pin, with a not so subtle, We Love Abortion message, how can we not associate the child sacrifices of today with the god of Molech from yesteryear?
The thing is, is that I see too many Christians, or what I call CINO’s (Christians In Name Only), who are also engaged in sinful distractions, idolatry, and in some cases, outright debauchery. As a Professional Counselor and Resiliency Coach, I see people’s broken walls and broken lives and my appeal is to “…Rid yourself of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles you” (Heb. 12:1) and flee the darkness and return to the HOLY. We need you in the fight!
Journey with me back to 586 BC.
Jerusalem, the city of God, and the Temple (believed to be the sacred place where God dwelled) had been destroyed and conquered by the Babylonians. The Hebrew’s were enslaved and exiled to Babylon where the captivity formally ended in 538 BC when the Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon. The Hebrew’s were allowed to return to their homeland but many remained in both Babylon and Persia.
The Hebrew people returned to their homeland in waves. The first wave came and laid the foundation to rebuild the Second Temple, and the second wave came and finished the work. The Hebrews were able to worship God in their own land, but their city still lay in ruins and her walls were broken down. In ancient cities the only real means of defense were the walls.
This is where the story of Nehemiah picks up. He was living in the city of Susa under the Persian rule of King Artaxerxes. He had attained the position of cupbearer to the King, which was a high-ranking position, and given only to a person of noble character. One average day, Nehemiah’s brother and some other men from Judah arrived in Susa. Nehemiah questioned them about Jerusalem and the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile and they told him,
“The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days; and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heavens.” Nehemiah 1:3,4
We too live in a nation right now whose walls are broken down. Our borders are nearly non-existent and being overrun. It leaves us vulnerable and unprotected. Have we/you sat down and wept? Fasted and prayed? Mourned for days?
On a personal level, do you have places where your own walls are broken down? Is there no longer any ability left to resist destructive attacks? Have you fallen victim to sinful habits that you now find difficult to break? This is the kind of ruin that is described here. Perhaps you find yourself on a seductive slippery slope that has taken you captive into deep sinfulness and you can’t find your way out. Or perhaps you feel that your gates (your boundaries), have been burned by a spouse, a friend or family member that’s been verbally abusive. Perhaps you are still struggling with a past abuse, rape, rejection, sabotage or betrayal. Or perhaps, you are selfish and selfabsorbed, excusing and blowing off your sins so you don’t have to acknowledge or quit them. I promise you that if you are in the latter category, the toll will be devastating and your life will disintegrate into nothingness. You will disassociate, shut down emotionally, and find yourself dead inside. The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy. John 10:10a
What does it mean then to rebuild the walls of your life? It begins with a concern about the ruins. You will never rebuild the walls of your life until you first weep over the ruins. And perhaps in this Lentin Season you must do more than weep; a fast, a cleanse, a confession that places you prostrate on your face before God, a sackcloth and ashes humility. You will know. You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of the world. Eph. 1:2
God wants to reveal our brokenness to us not to condemn us but to rebuild our lives. Let us give God the ruins of our lives today so that he may begin the healing restorative process of fortifying our walls and our relationships so you may get back in the fight. We need you!
If you feel you’d like to do a deeper psychological and spiritual work, please connect with me.