The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul… Ps 23 NKJV
Our Sunday school class is currently going through the book of Nehemiah. The sessions are reminding Cindy and me of a time when we sat under Pastor Jack Hayford and his incredible teaching titled The Nehemiah series…Restoring The Walls. Most people who have followed this man would say this series was probably one of his signature teachings of all time.
Pastor Jack would say that Nehemiah represents a “type” or “picture” of the Holy Spirit. In fact the name Nehemiah translated in Hebrew means The Comfort of God. Jesus said He would be sending the Holy Spirit or Comforter. In the above Psalm it talks about God, by His Spirit, restoring our soul. Pastor Jack suggests that the walls Nehemiah was desirous of rebuilding represent our soul and the temple represents our spirit. Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit…
In the above verse the Bible talks about the division of soul and spirit—let’s explore this for a moment. In those days the Spirit of God was in the temple. This is analogous to the New Testament believer allowing the Lord into their life, literally God’s Spirit in us. Remember that in the old covenant God would reside in a physical place—the good news for us happened when Jesus gave His life and the temple curtain was torn allowing access from that time forward for God’s Spirit to literally be in us. We are now the temple of God.
The soul, on the other hand is best defined as our intellect, our emotions and our will. Our intellect represents our thoughts, our emotions represent our feelings and our will is typically influenced by a combination of those, leading to our actions.
At OTI we have a vision for shaping men who are FULLY ALIVE…Becoming The Man God Intended. When we invite the Lord into our life we are ALIVE but becoming the Man God Intended has to do with the condition of our soul, our walls. Nehemiah knew that the Spirit of God was in that temple but because the walls were down there was little or no protection from an enemy that wanted to destroy their worship which would affect their identity, relationship with God and their destiny.
The same is true of us. When we allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives we are ALIVE at our core. However, when our soul is not built up and we allow in such things as fear, doubt, various kinds of sin that are not dealt with, it gives our enemy access to interrupting that important connection with the Spirit of God in us and destroys our worship. The result—our identity, relationship with Him and destiny are impacted.
The Holy Spirit, just like Nehemiah, wants to restore and build up the broken down places in our souls so that we have protection against the attacks of the enemy. The strong message for all of us is—the importance of God, by His Spirit, to have His way in the life of the believer. The ability of His Spirit to work in us the way He fully intends is hindered often by the ways we allow the “walls” of our life to be compromised which gives access to the enemy.
As I ponder what Nehemiah must have felt regarding the condition of this city in his time the scripture clearly reports the intense sadness and heartache he endured. I want to suggest here that if he were alive today witnessing the condition of our kingdom—the United States of America and how broken we have become—his feelings would be even more intense.
Dear ones please here me—as a nation our walls are down—many would say destroyed beyond repair. Could it be that all of this happened as the result of us—God’s people—not taking proper care of the walls in our own life? Have we allowed our souls to deteriorate to the point that we are hindering the Spirit of God having His way in us? Could it be that our national soul is simply a reflection of the collective soul of His people?
I long for a Nehemiah in our day. We are in desperate need for this kind of spiritual leadership in order to turn our people and ultimately our great nation back to worshipping the one true God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. I am persuaded that Nehemiah understood the central place that worship held in gaining victory over his enemies and the successful completion of that wall. The same holds true today for you and me—if we are to be successful in defeating our enemy and see our souls restored we MUST understand the importance of worshipping our Lord.
Where is Nehemiah when we need him? He is here—all around us in the form of God’s Holy Spirit. The real question is, will you let Him have His way in you?
When God is the center of a kingdom or a city, He makes it strong “like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken” (Ps 125:1). And when God is the center of a soul, although disasters may crowd in on all sides and roar like the waves of the sea, there is a constant calm within. The world can neither give nor take away this kind of peace. What is it that causes people to shake like leaves today at the first hint of danger? It is simply the lack of God living in their soul, and having the world in their hearts instead. –R. Leighton
In closing, I would like to recommend some helpful resources regarding this theme:
- Here is a link to Rebuilding The Real You by Jack Hayford.
- Each of the restored gates represent something special. Here is an outline: http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/nehem3.htm
- If you are dealing with issues from your past that are causing your soul to be compromised here are four powerful sessions from our Men On Target Curriculum you might find useful: Links to our series on Fear, Anger, Unforgiveness and Guilt (12 minutes each)