I mentioned in my last post that I wanted my husband and I to be on the same side of the spiritual fight as it relates to brokenness in our marriage. Another story that resonates with me in the battle is that of Nehemiah.
Nehemiah is a servant of King Artaxerxes who learns that the wall of Jerusalem and its gates have been destroyed. He is devastated by this news and after deep prayer finds favor from the King to be sent to rebuild it. In order to do it he faces tremendous opposition and conspiracy, but does not give up. As a result of his work he is blessed to witness Israel’s repentance. This is a very brief description of an incredible book in the Bible. Here are some lessons from Nehemiah as they apply to my marriage.
Scripture says that as soon as Nehemiah heard that the wall protecting Jerusalem and the temple for worship was in ruins he “sat down and wept and mourned for days” both fasting and praying. I have heard it said that the equivalent of those days was actually 3-4 months. This is just one of the many examples of how he was constantly in prayer for the brokenness.
He knows the power that God has over the situation that he is in and acknowledges his need for that power. My marriage was in ruins.
Imagine if I mourned, prayed and fasted as Nehemiah did.
In chapter 1 Nehemiah remembers God’s promises to Moses. This place was specifically chosen by God and is intended for the gathering of his people to make his name “dwell there.”
Nehemiah knows that what once was glorifying to God is now destroyed and needs to be re-built.
I have referenced before that marriage is the picture of the Bridegroom (Christ) and his Bride (the church). Like Jerusalem, I believe our marriage was specifically chosen by God and that it is a picture of worship.
It is worth working hard to rebuild!
Nehemiah had enemies trying to stop the re-building. It says in chapter 4 that the men with Nehemiah were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.
I really find the picture of the men holding the trowel in one hand and the sword in the other to be a powerful image. Although they are re-building they do not lose sight of the battle.
Like the enemies of Nehemiah we face regular opposition from the ultimate enemy.
Satan does not want to see restoration of the things that bring glory to God.
Nehemiah certainly could not keep up with the intense fighting and the hard work of building by himself. He had trusted men working alongside him. At one point they say to Nehemiah “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.”
Nehemiah encourages his men to “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” I imagine them taking turns fighting, building and encouraging one another as they grow weary. This is just what community should be.
Nehemiah does not re-build this magnificent wall by himself nor should we expect to be strong enough to re-build our marriage alone. Sometimes it just feels like there is “too much rubble!” We all are forgetful, we all grow weary when opposition comes and need reminders of truth.
We need community to come alongside us.
In chapter 2 when the people working with Nehemiah questioned their work he said “I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good.” And when the opposition was trying to stop his work, he said, “The God of heaven will make us prosper.” Nehemiah knew God and his confidence was not in himself, but in the Lord.
I am confident that God wants restoration for our marriage and need to trust God to work.
Great and awesome God,
You remain in steadfast love with those who love you. Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant…
Rebuild this marriage that you brought together. Grant us true repentance for our sin that we might glorify you in it. And when we are weak and weary because it all feels like too much remind us that we are not alone. The God who made the universe is our strength and you have given us community here on earth to fight beside us. Do not let the enemy have this union!
When we fail to believe and trust in you remind us of your goodness and the restoration you have already begun.
Yours in the Round,
Please stop back on Fridays for more about Erin's story and what God is doing in her marriage.
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."