CHRONICLES OF NEHEMIAH(Pt. 2)

“So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its[height], for the people had a mind to work”(Nehemiah 4:6).

Repairing the Wall

When I was in High School there was one particular class I remember with great fondness. It was called Social Problems. Not that class solved any of our “burning issues” of the day but we did have great discussions.  What really made the class enjoyable was our teacher, Rev. Ward. He was a wise old minister with the biggest, toothy smile; appreciated by all his students. Many of his statements were impacting but the one that stands out to me to this day is… “Your rights end where my nose begins.” He was speaking about boundaries and dignity. This is what Nehemiah reminds us of through his leadership in the repairing of the gates and wall of the city.

If you are going to regain “the wheel” and direction of your life you must establish proper boundaries. Israel had lost their sense of hope and purpose because their enemies had made sure that the walls of the city were never rebuilt. And without gates in place the enemy always had access to their lives, coming and going at will. Nehemiah knew that he had to deal with “first things first” by providing security for his people by getting the gates repaired. 

TEN GATES

It is interesting that there were ten gates which needed repairing. The Biblical number ten represents “completion or perfection of divine order”. There are two other numbers that speak of a complete or perfect number but ten has the unique distinction of requiring human participation. For example, there are the Ten Commandments (Dealing with our responsibility towards God and towards our neighbor). Again, we have ten fingers and ten toes (Speaking of the work of our hands and our walk).

The order and naming of the gates is significant. Each of these gates speak of the spiritual journey we each take with the Lord. Nehemiah chapter three lists the gates:

(1) Sheep Gate (v1 ) The Sheep Gate is the place of salvation. Jesus said “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved”(Jn.10:9)  If we would repair our lives as they were created to be we must begin as those who like sheep  have gone astray and return to the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

(2) Fish Gate (v3) The Fish Gate was of the place the Marketplace. Among other commodities, fresh fish were brought into the City.  I am reminded that the Lord Jesus words to Simon Peter, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men”(Matt. 4:19). This of course was after Peter had caught the net-breaking, boat-sinking catch of fish. He pulled in this great haul of fish in obedience to Jesus’ words as to where to cast his nets.  We each are called to be witnesses for Christ;looking for opportunities to bear witness to His reality in our life. He will help us, causing others to desire to know Him who is Life indeed.

(3) Old Gate (v6). The Old Gate speaks to me of the place of transition from the old ways and habits to the conformity of the new ways and habits in the Lord. Paul wrote, “If any man is in Christ old things have passed away, behold all things have become new”(1 Cor. 5:17).  The fruit of a changed lifestyle are the evidence of a spiritually changed heart and mind.

(4) Valley Gate (Neh. 3: ). The Valley Gate is suggestive of the trials and troubles that we face as we are pilgrims in this world order. No one escapes this life without wounds. Although we cannot escape the trials and troubles of life we have the assurance that we do not face them alone. “Though I walk through the valley…Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me”(Ps. 23:4). 

(5) Dung Gate (v14). The Dung Gate is rightly situated after the place of trials. It is also called the “Refuse Gate”. It is the place where the trash or rubbish is taken out of the City. Paul helps us as he wrote, “The things that were gain to me I count them as loss…as rubbish”(Phil. 3:8). It is the place of letting go of those things that are not profitable for our journey in Christ. “He is no fool who loses what he cannot gain to gain what he cannot lose”, wrote Jim Elliot.

(6) Fountain Gate (v15). The Fountain Gate was situated near “the Pool of the mighty”, associated with David’s mighty warriors. After we have released those things that are longer profitable, there is a new place of spiritual experience and refreshing. We hunger and thirst for new things in God. Our Lord bids us come and be refreshed, allowing the fountain of the Holy Spirit to reside in us and flow out from us (Jn.7:37-38).

(7) Water Gate (v26). It is interesting that Ezra the teaching priest gathered the people of Israel with their women and children at the Water Gate. There they heard the Word of God read and explained. The Water Gate speaks to us of sanctification and cleansing. Jesus prayed that we would be “sanctified by truth”(Jn. 17:17). Jesus is preparing His Bride by “the washing of the water of the Word”(Eph. 5:26).

(8) Horse Gate (v28). The horse is a symbol of conquest. This is the place of the overcomer. In the book of the Revelation, John gives 8 promises for the overcomer. John sees a rider on a White horse with many riding on white horses with Him. They are those who had gained the victory over all the power of the enemy (Rev 19:11-16).

(9) East Gate (v29) The East Gate is designated for the king’s entrance. This is the hope of all the godly, the appearing of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. “Christ appeared once to take away our sins.  He shall appear a second time bringing salvation with him”(Hebrews 9:27). We may not know the day or the hour but we believe the King is at the door. Let us stay watchful and alert. “Lift up your heads O Ye gates and be lifted up Ye ancient doors that the king of glory might come in”(Ps. 24:7).

(10) Inspection Gate (v31) How fitting that the last gate mentioned should be the Inspection Gate. We will all one day stand before the King of kings and the Judge of judges. We each will stand to give account for ourselves for those deeds done while we were here on earth. At that time we will receive reward or lose according to the motive by which we have served and loved the Lord Jesus (Ro. 14:10b-12). May we be ready for that great day of Judgement. 

Copyright© Walter Fletcher Jr., 2011. Permission is granted to reproduce this article free of charge, provided that it is not altered in its original form and content. Please direct all correspondence to walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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