Welcome to any new visitors to my little corner of the world.
There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. For me, now is the time to speak. There are various offerings here, like the Psalm 139 Project. The Warrior Bride project is a bit longer, but worth the read. Romans 12 is ongoing (and has been for a while!) Reverberations is a new addition, reflections of my daily reading. Feel free to let me know what you think. Thanks for dropping by.
Today, I'm a bit nostalgic. Rummaging through past writings, past thoughts. I am re-posting something posted back in 2011. It's part of a bigger work, called The Warrior Bride. Warrior Bride is a complete essay, but posted on the blog in individual sectionsso people could read it in chunks. When I wrote it, it was extremely powerful for me,....all of it. Starting with the Introduction, all the way through to the Conclusion. I think it's worth the re-read, if you have the time, or introduce yourself to it for the first time.
Originally posted 14/07/2011
Nehemiah, The Watchman
was a cupbearer. His position was of great importance to the king. He
was also a Jew. His people were in recovery, a remnant trying to
comprehend what had happened to them and how to move on. The symbol of
their worship, the House of their God, had been destroyed. It lay in
charred ruins, just like their hopes and dreams.
was a cupbearer. A cupbearer with a heart for how things should be and
how God intended for them to be once again. A cupbearer whom God
equipped for the job to which he was called.
story of Nehemiah is a very personal account about the struggle one man
has against the despondency and hopelessness of a nation. Amid ridicule
and impossible situations, this man’s commitment to reestablishing the
Temple and the Law was astounding. He is a cupbearer who becomes a
Watchman. In my personal opinion, being a Watchman is a vital component
to becoming the Warrior Bride. It would seem that Nehemiah’s willingness
to respond to each situation with fortitude and resolve, must be
something that we have in our every day responses.
Watchman is a protector. They are people with an eagle eye, who are
acutely aware of the weaknesses of the defense systems surrounding those
they are to protect. A Watchman is a navigator. They are people with a
strong sense of community, having the ability to maneuver protective
forces around the weak links, without sacrificing the work already
accomplished. A Watchman is a wise and firm leader. They are people with
a powerful determination to set things right, and can enlist the
support of all those beneath them without segregation. Finally a
Watchman is a force to be reckoned with. They are people who can
recognize where the enemy is attacking, and move to deal with that
attack swiftly and competently.
these things are displayed through the eyes of Nehemiah. His competent
and organized leadership in the face of much difficulty led the people
to make him their governor. His ingenuity in dealing with the attacks of
their enemies led the people to respect his opinion and follow his
leadership to the letter.
purpose was two-fold, to re-build the wall around the Temple and to
reestablish the Law. In doing this, Nehemiah fulfills his commission. He
is not sidetracked nor do the smoke screens sent by his enemies to take
his attention off of the job at hand, deter him. In a swift manner,
Nehemiah places protection at the weak spots along the wall, and
is such a powerful example for us. How often do things that get our
attention off of the job to which we are called, sidetrack us? How often
can the enemy place smoke screens in our path to cause us to lose our
focus? Nehemiah was a man of careful planning, for even during the
sleeping hours, the wall was protected.
so much in our lives clamoring for our attention, how is it possible
for us to find balance, but stay in complete focus? I would say it is by
clinging to the Commander. It is by ‘laying aside the weights that so
easily beset us’. It is by keeping our hearts clear of the things that
pull us aside from our calling.
the heart of Nehemiah, the thing that perhaps strikes me the most is
that he chose to identify himself with his people. The remnant was
trying to salvage any bits of pride they had left when he came and chose
to get dirty with them. They needed someone who could motivate them and
believe in their ability to rebuild the wall. Nehemiah somehow
understood that with the rebuilding of that structure came the
rebuilding of their national and personal pride in who they were. It was
his choice. He had lived in the palace and he had served the king.
to leave our palaces, pulpits or our soapboxes to get dirty trying to
restore personal pride in our people is the work of a Watchman. It is a
noble and valiant effort, and one cannot choose that road lightly. It
means protecting the weak links. It means navigating protection on the
night watch, when all those around are sleeping. It means leading
through ridicule, difficulties and insurmountable odds. It means
rallying a remnant together who have perhaps lost their sense of
identity and personal pride, and need the chance to re-build.
Watchman has a keen eye. Watchmen are people with a powerful ability to
see the enemies advances and thwart those opportunities. They do not
just see, however, they have a sword to fight with in one hand and a
brick to work with in the other. They do not live in a world of their
own, not getting dirty or building up themselves.
would seem that Nehemiah has the true nature of a leader. He is one who
works for and with the people he serves. His job is important, but his
eye is never far from the weak spot in the wall. He is touched by his
people, he is ridiculed on their behalf, and he puts himself in the
place of hazard for the sake of those he loves. He does not ask for them
to carry out one task which he himself is not willing to perform.
story is not unlike some of our churches today. Complacency slips in.
Casual sin settles on congregations like a comfortable blanket. Watchmen
are sometimes frustrated and weary souls. Nehemiah had brought reform,
the people repented. Nehemiah has choreographed the rebuilding of the
wall, only to have to close those gates for those who began to disregard
the Sabbath. He had helped to rebuild the pride that they had lost
through exile and evil leadership, only to have them intermarry once
was neither an easy road nor an easy choice, but through all of it,
Nehemiah remained true to the calling of his heart. He bucked the
complacency, he battled disloyalty to God, and he struggled through the
ridicule of the Law he had worked so hard to maintain.
Watchman has a somber heart as they must relinquish control and watch
loved ones flounder that no longer want protection. Watchmen must fight
to the bitter end to do what they can for those who become complacent,
but cannot change their message in order to win back those who walk
away. They must plead on behalf of those loved ones, those sheep who
have wandered off, but must maintain the focus of their calling.
could not allow casual sin to re-enter the camp of his people. He could
not turn a blind eye to those ones who began disregarding the Sabbath.
No matter how many times they had been warned, forgiven, warned again,
forgiven again, they still chose to allow the enemy into the camp. And
Nehemiah still chose to get dirty on their behalf, all without
sacrificing his own personal mandate.
to the remnant, the little things didn’t seem to matter. They probably
crept in undetected, or shushed away as insignificant. However, little
things when they are heart issues never stay little very long. “Lusts of
the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life’ seems to encompass so
much of what we deal with. If we allow the enemy a place in our mind,
our homes, our lives or our churches, even with the seemingly
insignificant things, pretty soon our focus will evaporate.
is possible to imagine that no one would have thought twice about
Nehemiah taking a foreign wife, as others had, even though at that time
it was against what God’s law established. He still made the choice to
remain true to the calling of his heart. His focus remained rock solid,
in spite of many smoke screens the enemy threw his direction to catch
him off guard. We need our focus grounded and steady. Little things slip
in faster than we think. Lust finds a playground in our minds. Pride in
the fact that we do not think we sin, swells our chest and has us
believing we are above all of that weakness. Whatever we see that we
want, we must have, disregarding any call to financial stewardship and
materialistic balance. These are issues of our character that don’t make
any difference to anyone but our Commander/Bridegroom. No one else see
that playground in our minds, or our credit card bills. No one sees our
chest swell with pride as we watch our peers confess the sins of their
is my belief that Nehemiah made the choices to be true to what God was
calling him to. I believe that he chose to not disregard the Sabbath,
just like once before he chose to leave the palace. It is our choice as
well. If our focus or vision is blurry, it is our heart that needs to
A Watchman is careful to guard himself as well as those he loves.