My husband and I just attended some meetings where pastors and leaders from all over the Austin area had come together to seek God, be refreshed, and take the first steps in developing some strategies for reaching our city as a unified force. It is so evident that the Holy Spirit is moving and orchestrating something so much grander than anything we might have tried to dream or imagine.
In January as I was reading in the book of Nehemiah, I was impressed that the Lord wanted to speak to me about the Body of Christ through this story. Nehemiah carried the burden to help rebuild the wall that surrounded Jerusalem, and Neh. 1:3 describes the wall as broken down and its gates burned with fire. I saw that this was a picture of the church not just in our city, but in many places throughout our nation.
Nehemiah must have recognized that the task was far too large for any one man and so the work was shared by officials, leaders, priests, and men from many different areas. The work was systematically divided up so that each did their share, but it was a cooperative effort.
What a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ coming together to build up the walls of the church. In the book of Nehemiah, the wall that surrounded Jerusalem was built for protection. In the same way, the Body of Christ is to be a spiritual wall around this city. Those who live within the walls will experience a sense of peace, prosperity and protection as the Body of Christ links arms. The task of rebuilding the spiritual walls around our city is far too big for any one church to fulfill, and it will only be through linking arms together that we see the 'heaps of rubble' become life-giving stones chosen and selected by Him to fit perfectly into the corporate wall that surrounds our beautiful city.
Nehemiah's work of rebuilding the wall did not happen without opposition. In fact, as soon as Sanballat and his buddies heard about what Nehemiah intended to do, the mocking and ridiculing began. Nehemiah's response reveals a type of resolve and confidence that we must have in order to withstand the opposition that will surely come.
Nehemiah answered his taunters by simply saying, "The God of Heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it."
This is to be our answer to our enemy as he seeks to discourage or dissuade us from the task ahead; "Satan, we His servants WILL start rebuilding, but as for you, YOU HAVE NO SHARE IN AUSTIN, or ANY CLAIM OR HISTORIC RIGHT TO IT!"
Jesus, call your people everywhere to rise up with humble hearts. Give your leaders strategies and plans that confuse the enemy and exponentially build the church. Thank you, Jesus, that "no matter how many promises God has made, they are
'Yes' in Christ". Let the "amen" of agreement from your people rise
up to the glory of God our Father as You fulfill your promise, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it". (Matt. 16:18b)