Today: [Nehemiah Three] Rebuilding the Gates of God in Your Life. After Nehemiah assesses the damage to the gates and walls of the city – rebuilding begins. The sheep gate, the fish gate – the necessary dung gate are all rebuilt. These gates represent very important aspects of spiritual commerce in your life and in the church as a community. Studying the order of the work and the restoration will bring you to a place of accessibility and process and blessing that will repair the gates of God in your life.
[Neh 3:1-32 KJV] 1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. 2 And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri. 3 But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who [also] laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 4 And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana. 5 And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord. 6 Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 7 And next unto them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, unto the throne of the governor on this side the river. 8 Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of [one of] the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall. 9 And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem. 10 And next unto them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house. And next unto him repaired Hattush the son of Hashabniah.
After Nehemiah’s midnight ride to inspect the ruins of the walls and gates of Jerusalem – the men and women with a heart to restore rose up and began to build. Nehemiah 3 is a comprehensive account of the rebuilding of the walls and gates including women and Levites and rulers in the city who left their daily activities and responsibilities to do the work that needed to be done. The sheep gate was their starting point. When we look at the city of Jerusalem we know from the book of Hebrews that it is a type of the church. When the sheep gate is broken the sheep cannot get in and those that are inside are unprotected. God wants His sheepfold to be accessible and protective at the same time. We look at churches today and we see people are staying away in droves OR we see multitudes coming in but it is not clear that the mandates of the kingdom are being brought to bear through teaching to keep them protected from the ravages of worldly culture. We can bemoan this in the institutions of the church but we must also look at our own lives. Are we approachable? Are we accessible? Do we have a sheep gate whereby those on the outside can find easy access and once in our company do we protect the sheep and care for them? This is not just the pastor’s job. The people that worked with Nehemiah came from every walk of life. They all had something other to do that no doubt demanded their attention. They could have stayed behind taking care of their families and businesses and other concerns but they were OTHER’S ORIENTED as we must be as citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem.
After the sheep gate was restored the fish gate was repaired. Fish represent souls. Jesus made His disciples fishers of men. We must repair the SHEEP GATE before the fish gate. Otherwise we bring people in the front door of the church and they leave out the back door saying “if that’s Christianity I want no part of it…” Until the sheep are protected, provided access to all that the community of Christ represents there is no point repairing the fish gate. This is the problem Jesus was referring to with the Pharisees when he chided them saying “you compass sea and land to make one disciple and turn him into twice the child of hell that you are ….” There is no point filling the church with people until the sheep gate and all it represents is repaired. We cannot point to church leadership to solve this problem. If they could have they would have – we must take responsibility ourselves.
11 Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces. 12 And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters. 13 The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate. 14 But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 15 But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king’s garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David. 16 After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, unto [the place] over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty. 17 After him repaired the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani. Next unto him repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of the half part of Keilah, in his part. 18 After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah. 19 And next to him repaired Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, another piece over against the going up to the armoury at the turning [of the wall].
After the sheep gate and the fish gate is repaired the repair of the dung gate is top priority. When the community of Christ grows and begins to be populated with the sheep and the fish and all they represent – there will be some DUNG that needs to be dealt with. Many times when a group or church grows the original group gets disappointed because things have changed. There is work to be done! Problems have to be solved! Fish come in ignorant and make many mistakes and errors that need to be corrected. They are immature! Strife and contention may crop up. You don’t just let these things pile up. You take them to the dung gate. When God calls you to be a gate keeper in the kingdom you will do your time at the dung gate. This takes a commitment not only to be a consumer of ministry purpose but a producer of ministry purpose. Pew sitters will never stand for this. They only want what is in it for them and they don’t want to be challenged. The next gate is the fountain gate – you will not get to the fountain gate until the dung gate has been repaired.
After the dung gate the fountain gate was repaired where the king’s pool was found. This is the fountain of living water that flows up in every believer individually and is meant to be found in the church particularly. We all want rivers of living waters and fountains of refreshing in God. We sing about it and preach about it. We make these times of refreshing the very definition of what a move of God looks like. Nehemiah understood the order of things. There is work to do to get the fountains of God’s refreshing. The sheep gate must be repaired to give the people of God access and safety. The fish gate must be repaired that souls once again can be added to the kingdom and not just be added to dead hypocritical religious culture. The dung gate must be repaired that the looming inconveniences of growth and movement of people in and around kingdom culture might be dealt with. Then upon this teeming community of willing workers the fountain gate is flung open wide that we might be refreshed in our work!
20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning [of the wall] unto the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah the son of Koz another piece, from the door of the house of Eliashib even to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain. 23 After him repaired Benjamin and Hashub over against their house. After him repaired Azariah the son of Maaseiah the son of Ananiah by his house. 24 After him repaired Binnui the son of Henadad another piece, from the house of Azariah unto the turning [of the wall], even unto the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai, over against the turning [of the wall], and the tower which lieth out from the king’s high house, that [was] by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh. 26 Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto [the place] over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out. 27 After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel. 28 From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house. 29 After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. After him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate. 30 After him repaired Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, another piece. After him repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah over against his chamber. 31 After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith’s son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner. 32 And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.
After the fountain gate is restored we see that Baruch repaired the wall immediately after this gate with great earnestness. Have you ever wondered where your zeal is? There are gates in your life that need to be repaired – that the refreshing might come. The sheep gate – representing a wholesome relationship you need with other believers, it must be repaired. The fish gate – a willingness to be a soul winner and not just leave that for someone else, this gate needs to be set on its hinges in your life. The dung gate – that corruption and waste that has built up in your life, it must be removed from the precincts of your inner man. Finally the fountain gate THEN becomes available. We want to circumvent the other gates and get right to the refreshing but this is not God’s way. The kingdom doesn’t come without discipleship and a process of maturing that we see reflected in this chapter through the metaphor of restoring the walls and gates of the city which represents us in our individuality and the church as a whole. Earnestness and zeal are restored when we yield to and cooperate with God’s process.
After the fountain gate and the earnestness of the workers after that section comes the water gate. The water represents the word of God. Notice that the word of God does not precede the refreshing of the fountain gate. We think that doctrine will bring us to the refreshing of God but it does not. However out of the refreshing and the zeal we need to move into sound doctrine to keep ourselves in a place of maturity and soundness in God. To have doctrine before refreshing is nothing more than dead religion. Finally we see the horse gate is repaired. The horse in the bible represents the strength of man and man’s ego and personality. When we seek first the kingdom – then all things are added. This gate represents human strength and human need. Religious thinking excludes this as one of God’s priorities. After the horse gate the wall was connected to the other side of the sheep gate and the city is once again walled and protected. The horse gate is important. Without it the breach is open and the enemy can attack. God wants to bless you but the way into that blessing is to the sheep gate, the fish gate, the dung gate and all the way around – seemingly moving in the opposite direction but ultimately winding up to that point where all your needs are met and blessing comes as the connection is made and the work of God comes to fullness in your life.
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