Friday, August 15, 2014

Restoration and Recovery - 2

This is part 2 of a several part devotion dedicated to the book of Nehemiah chapter 3.

Part 1

Nehemiah 3:1
Elishib the high priest and his fellow priest and his fellow priest went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of The Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel.

Do you ever skip over chapters in the Bible like this? Go read it, Nehemiah 3, it just lists people's names and what they worked on and in what order they did. I almost skipped it, I almost just zipped right through it. I was riding in the car after doing a half good job of reading the chapter when I heard, "the gates, study the gates," in my Spirit. So I went back and I studied the gates. They mean something alright. It's a blue print laid out for us. If you need restoration in your life (who doesn't?!?!?!) or if you are needing to go through recovery (gaining back something that was lost, returning to a normal healthy place!!!!!!), here is your plan.
Just a little pre-blurb about Nehemiah. He was cupbearer to a King in a place far away from Jerusalem. His brother came to visit. Nehemiah asked about Jerusalem. His brother gave him the horrible news that the walls were broken down and the gates had been burned. Nehemiah sat down, wept, mourned, fasted, prayed, and then spoke to God. He waited some more. Nehemiah looked sad in front of the king. The king asked him what was wrong. Nehemiah stopped and prayed. Nehemiah told the king what was wrong. The king asked him what he wanted. Nehemiah laid out his vision. Nehemiah went to Jerusalem. They start rebuilding the walls and repairing the gates.
In part 1 we talked about the rebuilding of the Sheep Gate. It is the gate of salvation. The first step of the restoration / recovery process (salvation). The last step in the process (Jesus was the final sacrifice). And the continual open step (sheep loose their way easily.)
The next thing that they worked on after the Sheep Gate was part of the wall. They kept rebuilding the wall as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hannel. Remember in part one I did a brief description of what walls were in the spiritual realm? Protection. This is what they are working on now. Protection for the Sheep Gate. And the Sheep Gate represents our continuous salvation.
The Tower of the Hundred is said to be linked to the scripture Luke 15.
Luke 15: 3-7
So He told them this parable, saying, What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The Tower of Hannel is said to be linked to the mercy of God.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

See this represents our protection for salvation. Jesus is concerned about that one lost sheep and will go after him to bring him back home. Back through the Sheep Gate. Also our protection is God's mercy. Mercy is different from Grace. Grace is receiving something non deserving. Unmerited favor. Mercy is being given a sentence, judgment, and not having to pay the consequence. Mercy.

Think of the city of Jerusalem as a big circle with the Sheep Gate being at the top and then to the left on the wall the Tower of the Hundred and then the Tower of Hannel. Once you enter through the Sheep Gate God wants to remind you of His mercy. He wants to remind you that He knows that the Sheep Gate is an open gate. It has no bolts or bars on it. He knows that you can come in and go out as you please. But He also wants to get the message to you loud and clear that He will go after you. Even if it is just you that stepped out of the gate, He will go after you.

Sometimes the security and knowledge of this statement alone: God wants you, He wants to show you His mercy, and He will even go after you if you stray back out of the Sheep Gate, is enough motivation to stay in the gate. That is what He wants from you. Stay in the gate.

Thanks so much for reading!
I would love to connect with you on a personal level!
This is a devotion that will be written in several parts as we discover the different gates and parts of the wall and what that means for us in the process of restoration and recovery. When a new devotion is written I will link here:

I have written several other devotions from the book of Nehemiah  that occur before or after chapter 3. They are linked here:

Sit Down. Weep. Mourn, Pray, and Fast - How to Handle Horrible News
Interceding Prayer
I Was Cupbearer to the King