Nehemiah 7: Spiritual City Development
In Nehemiah 7, Jerusalem is beginning to come together, but there is still work to be done.
Neh 7:4 Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.
Building the wall was the priority, and that is obviously what the people had focused on. They needed the defenses up given all of the outside threats, and they knew that the internal development would happen next.
I think that this is an interesting picture of the role of apologetics in the Christian life. In a sense, our defenses are our reasons for our faith which we are called to have.
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
When you put together those basics to be our wall, we are ready to build up the inside. I think about that as kind of the mission toward spiritual maturity. Your inside becomes more sophisticated like the city became more sophisticated.
At the beginning, we have the basics. We have our faith in God, and we have whatever reasons we had for coming to that faith. However, once we have that in place, then we need to develop the inside. We don’t necessarily build houses, but we do become more mature and bear spiritual fruit.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
We still have our wall there that helps us hold firm in our belief and helps us to not be swayed by competing ideologies or belief systems, but we have development on the inside that helps us get more out of our Christian life and become better workers for Christ.
I know that this is not directly related to Nehemiah, but when I saw the imagery, I saw the application of that approach in our lives. Our spiritual lives are outlined by our faith and the reasons for that faith, but once we have that in place, I would hope that our development continues and we become even better servants for God.