There’s an alluring beauty to the shamrock green, patchwork fields of Ireland. But past the beauty, lies utility. The soil on the Aran Islands, one of the most famous places to view these, is littered with rocks. The people needed to clear the land in order to farm. Likewise, they needed a way to differentiate farming land. Thus, stone walls were created to make good use of the rock surplus. The thing is though, the walls were created without mortar. Farmers simply placed stones on top of one another. This method is still used today, and it requires constant vigilance on the part of the farmer. Without a watchful eye and continual maintenance, these structures would be in a state of disrepair.
As we prepare to read through Ezra and Nehemiah, we too need to be aware of the structures in our spiritual lives. In both of these books, the Jewish people have a big task before them. In Ezra, God’s people are called to rebuild the temple. In Nehemiah, God’s people are called to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.
When Sanballat heard that they were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble – burned as they are?” ~ Nehemiah 4:1 – 2
After the Babylonian captivity, the Jews were without a place to worship. They returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. After the temple was complete, the people moved on to rebuild the wall surrounding the city. Without this wall, the Israelites were defenseless against their enemies.
1 Corinthians 6:19 says that our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. Thus, we need to take care of it. What is the current shape of your temple? Are you keeping a vigilant eye on it like the Ireland farmers?
And what about the walls around yourself? Do you have any? These are the good kind of walls, by the way. They are the kind you put up to protect yourself from sinful habits. Are you constantly uprooting sin in your life, like the rocky fields, and then protecting yourself from those same sins by creating safe boundaries?
Ponder these things are you read through Ezra and Nehemiah. Grace and peace to you this week!