“Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.” (Neh.2:17)
The phrase, “We will build a border wall when I am elected President” was said over and over in the past presidential campaign. The reasons stated for the building of a border wall are: (1) to keep out illegal immigrants; (2) to keep out criminals; and (3) to insure that those desiring to come into the United States would abide by the Constitution of the United States and abide by the laws of the United States.
The wall surrounding any sovereign state, or merely a fence around private property, is a definite boundary that speaks to a personal boundary indicating ownership and ruler-ship. It marks the authority of the owner, the laws or rules of the owner, and the rights of the owner which are common to the owner and not to anyone else. The rights of the owner are set by the laws of the city, county, state, and nation of the said property.
As it is in the physical; so it is in the Spiritual realm for the child of God. The child of God is to build a spiritual wall to keep, or guard, himself from falling (1 Cor. 10:12); or from the entrance of, or the conceiving of, sinful lust in his spirit. The reason is found in Jas. 1:13-15:
“(13) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: (14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
The death that comes to the child of God; one born from above; one that has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit; one who has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit – is not loss of eternal life (Rom. 8:29-39); but, the loss of fellowship with God (Isa. 59:1-2); loss of his witness of being a child of God (see King David 2 Sam. 12:1-12; Ps.51) (Rom. 14:1-23; 1 Cor. 10:12); loss of power to overcome daily sin (Rom. 6:1-23); loss of spiritual growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ; and even can result in the loss of one’s physical life (1 Jn. 5:16).
This entire process has its origin, as James says, “…when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” Therefore, the child of God must build the wall of holiness and purity around his mind daily; for the spiritual enemy is in continual assault-mode to the child of God’s spirit.
But How is the child of God to build his spiritual wall?
(1) First, the child of God needs to know the soul of man is the seat of his affections. Paul calls it the “flesh” (Rom. 7:15-25) where sin dwells. The “old man” is crucified experientially in regeneration and conversion (Rom. 6:4); and is given the “new man” (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:1-4). However, even though the old man has no power to control the new man after regeneration; the fact remains, that the old man (or the flesh) still is in the man until he physically dies. Therefore, the old man must be recognized by the child of God; and he must “put off the old man” daily (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9-10), and “put on the new man” daily. Paul uses this analogy to exhort the child of God to continually, or daily, build the wall to guard, and to keep out the temptations, to sin that flows from sin dwelling in the old man. The “put off” and the “put on” is the same as “Take heed wherein you stand” (1 Cor. 10:6-12). The child of God then must be aware of the “old man” and of his tricks of deception to the new man; and that there is a constant war between his flesh and his spirit (Gal. 5:17).
2). Secondly, the child of God must be aware that the “old man” is activated, or is empowered, by the five gateways into his spirit. The five gateways are the five senses of man; seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, and smelling. The child of God must have a wall of defense in the five senses to stop the deception of evil temptations. All evil temptations enter into the spirit of man through these five gateways. If there is no defense; or no resistance; or no wall; to stop the onslaught of evil temptation on the child of God – then, evil lust can be conceived in the believer: “(15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas. 1:15c).
The discernment of the need, or the must of the wall of defense, in the child of God is because of the fact that the presence of the “old man” (the flesh) remains in the believer even after his regeneration and conversion to Christ. This fact is to be the first alarm bell in the believer that he must have a wall of defense against the trickery and deception of the old man, because of the bent of the old man to sin. The second alarm bell in the believer is his discernment that evil temptations have their entrance to his spirit through his five innate senses. Thus the reason of using the text verse for this devotion: “Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach” (Neh. 2:17). Here Nehemiah stated the terrible condition of Jerusalem, “lieth waste”; and the solution to the problem; and the reason to implement the solution. The problem: “…and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” The solution: “…come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem.” The reason: “…that we be no more a reproach.”
The questions remain, What is the wall? and How does the believer build the wall of defense against the entrance of evil temptation into the spirit of the believer? The answer to these two questions will be discussed in “Build the Wall: Part Two: Defense.”