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Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 031112
Nehemiah. Part 12.
A tour of the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah

We have spent quite a bit of time on some of the Gates found in the book of Nehemiah. A close look at each of the gates of Jerusalem give us some great doctrinal typologies.
ROM 9:22-24, What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

We have been noting the first group of the vessels of mercy, the Jews led by Nehemiah and his desire for Jewish restoration.

We will also note the second group of the vessels of mercy who are called from among the Gentiles and led by their apostle, the apostle Paul.

 

ROM 11:13, But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,

1TI 2:7, And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher[not of the Jews] Gentiles in faith and truth.

The Jews would be assigned a certain portion of the wall defined by the gates that gave access to the city. NEH 3:1, Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors.

So far we have noted the first five gates beginning with the Sheep Gate - the gate through which the sheep were brought into the city to be used at the altar. This foreshadows the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. We enter the Sheep Gate when we believe in Christ. The Sheep or the Lamb as the sacrifice goes all the way back to Abel’s offering in GEN 4:4; where the Lord had respect for Abel’s offering but not for Cain’s. Abel’s offering represented that which God provided, the bloody lamb. Cain’s offering represented that which man provides which is human good. It also goes all the way back to Isaac’s substitute when Abraham took his son Isaac on the mountain in Gen 22 to offer him.

GEN 22:8, And Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

Not the Lord would provide but God will provide because the entire Trinity was involved in the sacrifice of the lamb or the sheep. The Father sent the Son (JOH 3:16), The Son executed the plan (JOH 10:17-18), The Holy Spirit empowered the Son.

To recognize the principle of the Cross is to recognize the fact that God will be moving in your life to utterly cancel out your own ego, your own plans, and your own self‑interest. That is what we have seen in the potter’s wheel series.

Next is the Fish Gate - NEH 3:3, Now the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.

When ‘fish’ is mentioned in the scriptures, it connects with two major links. Fish are a provision of food for we all need to grow. Fish also symbolizes a people with a special calling who will be involved in feeding the hungry. Remember the 153 great fish that gave up their ‘lake-life’ became separate from their brethren in order to be food for the hungry; (John 21). The number 153 is used because the disciples were impressed enough to have counted the fish. The risen Lord has provided them more fish than they could possibly eat by themselves. The Lord Jesus Christ told us to be fishers of men.

The Old Gate - NEH 3:6, And Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors, with its bolts and its bars.

Old speaks of that which is past. It also speaks of that which is solid and unchangeable like a foundation. There are many things labelled old that need renewing as well as many things that are old that should be discarded quickly! Some old things can be revived and we call that revival! But many revivals are trying to renew that which has past away! God does not change but His ways of accomplishing change progress.

ISA 55:8 ... we desire to know His thoughts over and above ours.’

There are therefore things old and new in God’s people of this hour. Most certainly our ‘old man’ must be replaced by the new man. Christ then you will be a new creation and all unwanted old things shall pass away. There is always more positive expressions of God’s grace than the ‘valley’ you might feel you are going through. This gate will have you check up on your foundations that make up Christ Who is you true foundation.

The Valley Gate - NEH 3:13, Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and a thousand cubits of the wall to the Refuse Gate.

This Valley Gate would be at the low point in the terrain around the city. It speaks of where we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and learn in experience that Christ is OUR life and that He doesn’t wish to share His Throne with us. It is also the place of growing ... not much in the way of growth comes from the mountains. There are the high places in our walk and testimony and remember, it takes two mountains to form a valley. As Psalm 23 declares, the valley is something you walk through. Do not stop and dwell in those dealings but rejoice in the Light that produces the shadow.

The Old Testament acts as a sort of foundation to the New Testament provided that one does not try to literally reproduce the old in any form. The fruit of the Spirit will be the evidence that you have been through the dealings of God in relation to this Gate (GAL 5:22-25)

The Dung Gate - Dung is all that is left over from yesterday’s manna! Old teachings have given up their nutrition and now need to be discarded. When the Law starts to replace grace in your spiritual life, then the letter of the Law must go because it becomes dung and out it must go.

ROM 12:9, Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

ROM 12:17, Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

ROM 12:19, Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

ROM 13:14, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Push out all items away that do not produce life with those that do.

Back in NEH 3:15, here is a member of the royal class willingly working in a filthy place where he could smell the stench from the valley of Hinnom below. Compare his working conditions with the location mentioned in NEH 3:15, Shallum the son of Col‑hozeh, the official of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He built it, covered it, and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars, and the wall of the Pool of Shelah at the king's garden as far as the steps that descend from the city of David.

You have one official who willingly works near the garbage dump and another official who gets to work by the pool near the king’s flower gardens. Which emphasizes again that some of the people were willing to work in more difficult places than others, without complaining. Or some of the people were willing to work harder than others.

NEH 3:20, After him Baruch the son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the Angle to the doorway of the house of Eliashib the high priest.

This is the only person whose attitude is specifically mentioned. The Hebrew word translated zealously is charah from a word that means to burn or to glow. Just because you work willingly at a task, does not necessarily mean you are working with a glow. The name Baruch represents those who work—and smile while they are at it. They show up at their posts with cheer and kind words. They are a pleasure to serve with and around.

Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters. NEH 3:5, Moreover, next to him the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not support the work of their masters.

We are not told why, but we are informed by Nehemiah that there were some who refused to help. It is interesting that the Tekoite nobles would not work, but the common people would. It is not any different in the Church today. The tasks related to the Ministry are filled with ordinary people with a zeal for the Savior. Those who are influential in the world’s eye tend to be occupied with more important things to do.

1CO 1:27-28, but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are,

All the people who worked with their hands revealed the condition of their hearts. If you skip ahead to chapter 4, you discover a wonderful description of the workers. It’s too bad that these characteristics are not true of believers today.

NEH 4:6, So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

Churches should be more like construction sites than palaces and winter resorts. It may not be glamorous work, but it is a place where God is honored and the work is never done in vain. In fact, the results will last forever, because we are building people—and people last forever. The apostle Peter reminds us of this

1PE 4:10-11, As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

NEH 3:14, And Malchijah the son of Rechab, the official of the district of Beth‑haccherem repaired the Refuse Gate. He built it and hung its doors with its bolts and its bars.

This ruler must have been a very humble man. He reminds of Jesus who made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant (PHI 2:7). Jesus not only does the king’s job, but he also does the servant’s job. Once as a demonstration of his loving and serving heart, the Lord Jesus Christ washed His disciples’ smelly feet (JOH 13:5). Sinful pride makes us want only the glorious jobs. But Jesus’ humble love inspires us to be willing to do unpopular tasks to serve God and others. We can even clean the bathroom. There is also trash to clean out of our hearts. Sin is like trash in our hearts. Sin pushes God away from us.

The Dung Gate spiritual meaning is that the OSN, which is smelling bad and destroys our heart and mind must be put away by the dying of the flesh. God wants to throw garbage out of our lives. And although we don’t like it - and understandably we don’t like it one of the ways God removes the rubbish from our lives is by bringing us into times of trial.

He brings us through the Valley Gate. God is not interested in what you do but how you do it and why you do it!

DEU 28:45-47, So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. And they shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things;

Notice, it wasn't because they did not serve God but because they didn't serve him with joy and a glad heart. God is not interested in what you do but how you do it and why you do it! Even in the realm of giving, 2CO 9:6-7, Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

God does not want what you can do, but what your thinking is all about. He does not place unrealistic expectations upon us, we do. Human limitation is a fact of life, a hard truth that makes life easier when we accept it.

2CO 4:7, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves;

Unaided humanity is useless; "the flesh [human effort] counts for nothing" (JOH 6:63).

JOH 6:63, It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

If anything is to be done, God must do it. The people who work the works of God are those who realize their utter unfitness and overwhelming inadequacy to do the task.

2CO 13:4, For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God {directed} toward you.

We are weak in Him, is not a cliché but a certainty. It bothers us to think of ourselves so useless, but there is where our true strength lies. The problem with many of us is that we're much too gifted; we're dangerously adequate and self-sufficient. First of all, just a simple statement of fact, ECC 4:9, Two are better than one.

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