Nehemiah 3, is one of those chapters in the Bible, that most of us would probably skip over. All those names, sections of walls and gates being rebuilt are hardly, at a first reading, inspirational. One of the repetitions I noticed, are the words “next to.” Indeed they are mentioned 41 times – 41 sections in the wall, designated for restoration.
A number of year’s ago, when God drew my attention to this. I had this image, where I was lifted to a position high above the city. Looking down, I could see all the different family groups busily building their own section of the wall. I then began a gradual descent, and as I drew closer I saw that each of the sections had straight edges to them. What I became aware of was the stark reality – they were not building one wall. Each group was building their own wall, oblivious to the need to interlock with their neighbours, which the overall strength of the wall would depend on.
It was a strong image and I knew instinctively what God was showing me. Whether it’s individual Christians or gatherings of them into churches, the principle is the same – we need each other, there is no room for a party-spirit or disunity over denominational, doctrinal nuances or sectarian lines. There is only one Church, one Body of Christ in Ireland. We may not look the same, operate the same, but we are one body! All connected to the Head – Jesus Christ – for the healthy working of the whole! Sadly, to come back to the building analogy, the walls are broken down and the gates have been destroyed by fire! Our credibility is at stake!
Christ prayed in John 17:23, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me.”
Despite very real opposition, they rallied around a corporate vision: “… we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.” Nehemiah 4:6.
“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.” Nehemiah 6:15.
Lord, may Your vision for Ireland and its Church be mine. Show me if there are things in my life – cultural, historical, relational – that hinder this. May Your kingdom come to Ireland, as it is in heaven! Amen.