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May 27                       Today’s Reading: Nehemiah 3-5

“They fortified Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah 3:8


Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.” — The high priest was first to put his hand to the work of the Lord. Thus Eliashib shows us that God’s servants must lead by example, and that faithful men are faithful laborers. God’s servants labor in the Word and in the doctrine of Christ. Eliashib was also typical of our Lord Jesus, our great High Priest. His almighty hand is and must be first with all spiritual builders. — “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).


God’s Zion

In the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem we should look beyond the letter of the Word and remember that Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Abraham’s physical seed represent God’s elect, those people God has taken into covenant with himself. Jerusalem’s walls were laid waste. Her enemies entered in by her gates. She was carried into captivity by her foe. By whom was this done? Why was it done? Jeremiah tells us, “He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” The Lord God always looks after Zion. He comforts her and sustains her. His word to his church in every age is — “At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord (Zephaniah 3:20).


Recovered by Christ

The recovery of Israel from her Babylonian captivity and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and her temple are meaningless pieces of history to our souls, until we see what these things represented, typified, and foreshadowed. The whole Babylonian captivity and the recovery of Israel and Judah from it by divine intervention speaks of our recovery by Christ from the captivity of sin and Satan, of the building of his church, and of our great Savior bringing the redeemed of the Lord home to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads.

Looking beyond this world to the world to come, we are moved of God in reading this portion of Israel’s history to contemplate that great day, appointed from everlasting, when all things are finished. When the Lord has finished building Zion, his glory will fill his house forever. In that great, eternal day, our God will make every child of grace a praise among all people; having forever turned back our captivity, the God of peace will bruise Satan under our heels to the praise of the glory of his grace!


Our Help

We are building for eternity, and there are many foes. Let us learn, as Nehemiah did, where our strength is found and from whence our help comes. If we are built upon Christ, the Sure Foundation, if God the Holy Spirit will give us rest upon this precious Corner Stone, the promise is sure; — we shall never be ashamed, nor confounded, world without end.

Is Christ your foundation? Do you rest your soul on him? Do you lay the whole weight of your salvation on him? Do you live upon him? Do you live to him? These are heart-searching questions. But if the Lord God enables you to build upon Christ, depend upon it, in defiance of all opposition, he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the top-stone is brought home and laid in its place with shoutings, crying, “Grace, grace unto it!” Let a thousand Sanballats arise, or ten thousand Tobiahs mock; he that is with us, is more and greater than all who are against us!

Go on, my brother. Go on, my sister, in the strength of the Lord, crying out in the words of the prophet, “Who art thou, O great mountain? Before our Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain” (Zechariah 4:7).





Don Fortner








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