The Serpent Gate

Nehemiah quietly slipped out of the city by the light of the moon.  He had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild it and was on a short trip to observe the condition of the walls.  He was called to be a repairer of the holy city. The gates of the city were burned with fire and there was much rubble. He was living in a time like ours when Gods house had suffered loss and needed to be restored to her former glory.

Neh 2:12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode.
Neh 2:13 And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.

 He arose at night without anyone knowing what he was doing and went down through the valley gate to the Serpent well and beyond to the Refuse gate. I don’t know what that means but Serpent well and Refuse gate cannot be good!  Nehemiah saw the problems and returned home through the gate again. In the morning he rallied the people to work on the wall.

Neh 2:17 Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.”

Sometimes it is easy to see the faults of the church. We all have high expectations of Gods people and it is usually easy to see the faults when we are feeling low ourselves.  Some people see the faults and share their disappointment and offence with others. They complain but do nothing, not even pray. Sure maybe people rejected them, failed them or hurt them in some way. Disappointment through imperfection is common experience for all people. It part of belonging to  the human race.

But mature people, re-builders like Nehemiah say “I’ll never let problems be the reason I leave, but the reason I’ll stay!  I will be part of the answer not part of the problem.” He says to the others “Come let us built Jerusalem that we are no longer a reproach.”  That is the response God wants. Grace and faith keeps our heart free of offence, from disappointment and betrayal.

Friend, sometimes God uses the weakness of the church to test our heart and gives us the opportunity to be part of the answer.


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