Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Restoration and Recovery - 8

This is part 8 of a several part devotion dedicated to the book of Nehemiah chapter 3.

Nehemiah 3:14

The Dung Gate was repaired by Malkijah son of Rekab, ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem. He rebuilt it and put its doors with their bolts and bars in place.
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.

In part 7 we talked about the repairing of The Valley Gate. The seventh step of restoration / recovery is repairing The Valley Gate. One of the hardest gates, and a gate that you could possible be at the longest. Valleys represent sorrow, trials, and humbling places. A look around from this gate lets us see the level of our spiritual health. A glimpse of what needs to be cleansed. A glimpse into the condition of our mind, will, and emotions. Where trails come and the line is drawn in the sand. Where do you stand and how bad do you want to get to The Dung Gate.  

The next gate repaired was The Dung Gate. A gate located a long way away from The Valley Gate. 1,600 feet away. A long track for someone wading through the valley. But, once reached a place to through the trash out. A gate dedicated to removal of the dung. The mess in your life. What you just worked so hard on dealing with in the valley. God opened your eyes to the issue, taught you how to deal with it, and now it is time to shovel it out of your life.

Rubbish. Dung. What is it exactly? 

1 Corinthians 5:8

Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Old bread. Malice and wickedness. Your old self. Sinful natures. Becoming a Christian is a beautiful process. Much like the process of restoring the wall and gates of Jerusalem. He reveals things to us little by little. Things in our old life that we did that were acceptable, or even common, but now He wants to clean us. It's the process we go through in the valley. The realization of the wickedness. The battle to overcome. Then the removal. 

It sounds easy, but it is not. It's a process. A process that you are going to have to really depend on God during. 

Everyone has things in their life they need to work on. God will reveal them to you and take you through this valley / dung gate process. I would love to tell you that this only happens once in your life, and then you are good to go. Not that way at all though. I have been a dedicated Christian for the past 12 years and I go through this process still. The more and more we give ourselves to God the more and more He will expect of us. When He reveals. Throw the trash out!!!
In Nehemiah chapter 7 and 8 it talks about when Ezra begins to preach the Law of Moses to the Israelites in Jerusalem. He gathered them all together and taught from a pulpit basically. He preached so that the people could understand what was being read. The people began to weep when Ezra was reading the Law of Moses. They were grieving. They were grieving because through the Law of Moses God was revealing their sins.
Nehemiah 7:9
 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "this day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn and weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
The difference between us and the people of Jerusalem is they were under the Law of Moses and we aren't. We are under Grace. The new covenant established when Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Our "law" is the Holy Spirit. The Word of God says the new law is written on our hearts.
Hebrews 10:16
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."
The Holy Spirit is our Ezra. The people were so grieved when their sins were pointed out to them. Same with us today. When the Holy Spirit reveals things to us and takes us through this valley / dung process. It can be heart breaking. It can be hurtful. It can even want to make you give up. But, listen to what the scripture says in Nehemiah. This day is Holy to the Lord your God! Do not mourn and weep. Basically don't waller around in sorrow for your sins that are being pointed out. Shovel them out of the dung gate. Move on. Let it encourage you to rejoice. Let it lead to strength to further honor God's ways.
Even sorrow for sin must not hinder our joy in God, but rather lead us to it. When they understood, they rejoiced.
Matthew Henry
Nehemiah 7:12
Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
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:

1 comment:

  1. It is a process and you are totally right, some things God deals with me are in my past and some things are today's sins. Thank God for His mercy and grace and thank God I continue to work on being more like Jesus and not me :) ALL OF HIM AND NONE OF ME :) Pamela Britt Malone