Nehemiah is a pattern to us, and him being properly aggressive for the Lord and His interest, having a heart for the Lord’s recovery of the city of God, the rebuilding of the wall of the city, is something we all need to learn to have.
The crucial point in the book of Nehemiah is that the city of Jerusalem with its wall was built, to be a safeguard and protection for the house of God within the city.
Nehemiah was not a scribe or a priest; he was a common person, but he had a heart for God, His people, His building, and His city, and he was properly aggressive, being bold enough to ask the king to let him go and help rebuild the wall of the city, which lied in ruins.
He realise that, even though the temple was built, without the city wall to protect it, there’s no safeguarding and protection.
The rebuilding of the house of God typifies the recovery of the degraded church, and the rebuilding of the wall of the city of Jerusalem typifies God’s recovery of His kingdom; these two – the building of the church as the house of God and as the kingdom of God – go together.
On one hand, we need to enjoy the Lord, eat Him, and partake of Him as our life, supply, and everything, for He is all that we need for us to be His house, the church; on the other hand, we need to take Christ as our Head and be under His headship, allowing Him to rule and reign in us and among us, so that we may be the city of God.
In our experience the church as the house of God needs to be enlarged to be the city of God, the kingdom of God, with a wall that protects God’s interest, separates what’s not of God from what is of God, and expresses God.
In our experience the church as the ruling center for God’s reign in His kingdom needs to be real and practiced, and the church will be not just the house of God but also the kingdom of God, the city of God.
When we realize and enjoy Christ as our life, we have the church as the house of God, and if we go further and realize His headship, the house will be enlarged to be the city, the kingdom of God.
May the Lord gain the kingdom life in all the local churches, so that He may have a domain where He can rule and reign, His kingdom, on earth today.
Being Properly Aggressive in the Lord’s Recovery for His Interests Today
Nehemiah’s aggressiveness shows us the need for us to be properly aggressive in the Lord’s recovery today.
Although Nehemiah was not a priest or a scribe but a common person, he was not shy or passive when he heard the news from his brethren in Jerusalem; rather, he was concerned for the people, and he was bold enough to ask the king to send him back.
He took the opportunity to be properly aggressive for his people. We as saints in the Lord’s recovery of the church today shouldn’t wait to be asked, appointed, or arranged to do something, but we should be properly aggressive for the Lord and His interest today.
The leaders of the Moabites and Ammonites were greatly displeased about Nehemiah’s seeking the good of the children of Israel, for they hated and despised them (see Neh. 2:10, 19).
They were the descendants of the impure increase of Lot, the nephew of Abraham, and they didn’t want the people of Israel to succeed in the rebuilding of the city.
In relation to the mocking, despising, and reproach of these opposers, Nehemiah didn’t respond in kind but rather, he was very pure and properly aggressive, not cowardly at all (see Neh. 2:17-20; 321-6; cf. Acts 4:29-31; 1 Thes. 2:2; 2 Tim. 1:27-8).
God can’t use a cowardly person; He can use weak ones who are properly aggressive, but he can’t use the cowardly ones.
For example, Martin Luther saw the truth of justification and the need to have the word of God translated into the language of the people, and he stood for the truth; we need to follow in his steps, for we have the truth with us – we are here for the truth, for the recovery of the church, so we need to be properly aggressive, being bold to stand for the truth in the word of God.
In Acts 4, for example, even though the disciples were beaten and told not to speak concerning Jesus, they prayed that the Lord would give them the boldness to speak, in spite of the people’s opposition.
It is the aggressive ones who receive help from God; like Nehemiah, the apostle Paul was allied with God and realized God’s assistance in this alliance (Acts 26:21-22). We need to know God, know His word, and be properly aggressive, thus being allied with God, so that He would gain our country and continent, and the land would be filled with golden lampstands, with the testimony of Jesus.
Nehemiah’s aggressiveness, as a virtue in his human conduct, shows that our natural capacity, our natural ability, and our natural virtues need to pass through the cross of Christ, and they need to be brought into resurrection, into the Spirit as the consummation of the Triune God, to be useful to God in the accomplishing of His economy.
If we look at Nehemiah, we realize that he didn’t live in his natural man but in resurrection; he was a pattern of what a leader among God’s people should be. Nehemiah was aggressive, but he was properly aggressive, and his aggressiveness was accompanied by many other characteristics, which made him a proper leader of God’s people.
In his relationship with God, Nehemiah was one who loved God and also loved His interest on earth, including the Holy Land, the holy temple, and the holy city. We as believers in Christ need to love God and love His interest on earth, that is, love Christ, love the church, and love the kingdom of God (see 2 Tim. 3:1-5).
As a person who loved God, Nehemiah prayed to God to contact Him in fellowship; for the rebuilding of the wall, Nehemiah stood on God’s word and prayed according to it (see Neh. 1:1-11; 2:4; 4:4-5, 9).
We need to pray to God, contact Him in fellowship, and stand on God’s word, praying according to God’s word for the church to be the city of God, the kingdom of God. We need to be properly aggressive, taking God at His word, and praying the word of God back to Him.
Nehemiah trusted in God and even became one with God; as a result, he became the representative of God (see Neh. 5:19).
In his relationship with the people, Nehemiah was altogether unselfish, without any self-seeking or self-interest; he was always willing to sacrifice what he had for the people and the nation (Neh. 4:18; 5:10, 14-19; 13:27-30).
When we are one with God and are properly aggressive for His interest on earth, we will be unselfish when we relate to God’s people; we will not have any self-seeking or self-interest, but we will be willing to sacrifice what we have and even spend what we are for the saints, so that God may gain the church as the house of God and the kingdom of God.
Lord, we want to be properly aggressive for You and for Your interest, standing on Your word and praying Your word back to You so that You may gain what You are after, the church as the house of God and the kingdom of God. We love You, Lord, and we love Your interest on earth: we love Christ, we love the church, and we love the kingdom of God. We trust in You, Lord, and we pray for Your heart’s desire to be accomplished on earth in the church. Lord, may we be properly aggressive for You and altogether unselfish toward the saints, being willing to sacrifice what we are and have for Your people, for the building up of the church as the kingdom of God.
Being Separated unto God, Protecting God’s Interests, and Expressing God
Why was the building of the wall of the city of Jerusalem so crucial to Nehemiah and to God’s interest, and what does this wall signify to us and to God? It is because this wall protects God’s interests, safeguards God’s house, keeps the enemy without, and expresses God.
The great and high wall of the holy city has three main functions: it is for our separation unto God, for the protection of God’s interests, and for the expression of God.
The first function of the wall that the city had is to separate anything that is not of God’s interest and His people – keeping anything and anyone negative out, and everything and everyone positive in.
The function of the wall of the city is to separate, to sanctify, the city unto God from all things other than God, thus making the city the holy city (see Rev. 21:2a, 10b; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
We need to not be unequally yoked with the Gentiles; there has to be a separation – there has to be a high wall of the city in all the churches. The wall of the city of New Jerusalem is built with jasper, and the foundation of the wall of the city are adorned with every precious stone (see Rev. 21:18-20).
By our growth in the divine life of Christ as the precious stone (1 Pet. 2:4), we also are transformed into precious stones (see 1 Cor. 3:12). The more we are transformed by growing in the divine life, the more we are separated; precious stones indicate transformation (see Rom. 12:2).
We must take the way of transformation through growth in the divine life to be precious stones constituting the wall, to have the ability to separate what is of God and what is not of God.
While the transformation work of the Spirit is going on in the divine life, we – the transformed precious stones – are being built up together to be one complete wall with its foundations (see 1 Cor. 3:6-12).
The second function of the wall of the city is to protect the interests of the riches of God’s divinity on earth and the attainments of Christ’s consummation. The city of God is filled with the riches of God and His attainments, but today in the world people despise Christ and His work.
How do we protect the riches of God’s divinity and the attainments of Christ’s consummation? It is by putting forth the truth from the word of God. We need to speak concerning Christ, the last Adam, becoming a life-giving Spirit.
We need to speak what the Bible says, which is that when we believe into God, we receive the divine life and are begotten of God to be God-men, having the same life and nature as Christ. We need to speak and put forth the truth in God’s word to protect God’s interests.
Finally, the function of the wall of the city is to express God; in Rev. 4:3 the One on the throne looks like jasper, and in Rev. 21:18 the wall is made of jasper, showing that the whole city, as the corporate expression of God in eternity, bears the appearance of God!
Hallelujah, we are becoming the same as Christ through the process of transformation to express God corporately for eternity!
Lord, keep us in the process of transformation so that we may become precious stones adorning the wall of the holy city for separating what is of God and what is not of God. Lord, may we be transformed and built up together to be Your expression! May we know the truth and speak the truth according to the word of God so that we may protect the interests of the riches of God’s divinity on the earth and the attainments of Christ’s consummation! Amen! Lord, make us Your corporate expression!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by James Lee for this week, and portions from, The Application of the Interpretation of the New Jerusalem to the Seeking Believers, msg. 3 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Recovery of the Church (2017 fall ITERO), week 4, The Recovery of the Church as God’s House and God’s City as Portrayed in Ezra and Nehemiah.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Abba, Father! we adore Thee, / Humbly now our homage pay; / ’Tis Thy children’s bliss to know Thee, / None but children “Abba” say. / This high honor we inherit, / Thy free gift through Jesus’ blood; / God the Spirit, with our spirit, / Witnesseth we’re sons of God. (Hymns #45)
# Within those whom You’d call / Put such a restless caring / For building to give all— / These times are for preparing; / The gates of hell cannot prevail / Against the builded Church! / The hours are few, the builders too— / Lord, build, O build in us! (Hymns #1248)
# The wall a separation makes, / Excluding all that is unclean; / Gold, pearls, and precious stones alone / The holy city has within. (Hymns #979)
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