We've started a sermon series in Nehemiah and this week I'm preaching on chapters 3-4.
As with any other Old Testament text, one of the key questions is that of the hermeneutic that we use. Here in the 21st Century we are not living in the Israeli city of Jerusalem, trying to fend off attacks from our opponents. How, then, do we apply these events of almost 2,500 years ago? What are the walls that we're meant to be building? Are we even meant to be building walls?
Australians have been building walls for a long time. Home ownership (and construction) is deeply embedded in the Australia psyche, as a recent SBS Documentary “The Australian Dream” clearly shows. One of Australia's cult films also shows us how fundamental this “value” is to Australian self-definition…
Clearly (or at least I would think it is clear), the gospel calls us to set aside our own dreams and, instead, align ourselves with building not our own kingdom but God's.
And what of Jerusalem? Some modern-day dispensationalists place a great emphasis on the current city of Jerusalem. But is that right? It seems to me that Jerusalem has had its day in God's economy. As with many of the Old Testament cults, locations and practices, it has served its purpose in pointing us forward to the true realities.
Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,
The Jerusalem we belong to and have a deep emotional investment in is, therefore, not the lump of ground in the Middle East but something “heavenly”. In which case, building the walls of that Jerusalem is going to be something more than hard yakka with bricks and mortar.
Watch this space .
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