The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah was birthed in tears and prayers and fasting.
Nehemiah 1:3a ‘The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire. When I heard these things I sat down and wept. for some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.’
Ten gates are mentioned in Nehemiah chapter 3, proceeding counter-clockwise from the north wall of the Temple. The circumference of the walls was approximately two and one-half miles, encompassing, I believe, approximately 220 acres.
Please either listen to the short audio clip above or read the notes below or both at the same time!
4 The Valley Gate
Nehemiah 3:13 ‘The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the residents of Zanoah. They rebuilt it and put its doors and bolts and bars in place.’
These valleys represent the periods of trial and tribulation that all Christians pass through. There are times when our spiritual lives can be very dry indeed.
James 1:2 ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete.’
The valley periods are not much fun. We pray and our words catch in our throats, we open the scriptures and the words are meaningless, everything is hard work and an uphill struggle. G-d seems very far away indeed.
There is no easy answer here but to keep walking through the mud, knowing that we will emerge at the other end, much stronger, more mature and closer to G-d.
Others suggest that these valleys represent humility.
1 Peter 5:6 ‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under G-d’s mighty hand, that he might lift you up in due time.’
Matthew 23:11 ‘The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.’
Humility is easy. Just ask G-d, with a sincere heart, to humble you. He has His ways and means. He humbled Moses, He humbled Paul. After those two, bringing you into humility will be a piece of cake! And G-d will keep on keeping you humble if you keep on asking Him to keep on doing so!
The Valley Gate therefore pertains to the seasons of arid difficulties that we all face from time to time. They serve to keep us humble.
We pray this morning for the Christians of Afghanistan and Iran who face such deep valleys at the moment. May the Lord keep them and protect them and bring them through even stronger and mature than they are now.
Tomoorow: the Dung Gate! To get there now ahead please click here.
To study the previous gates, please click below:
Gate 1 The Sheep Gate
Gate 2 The Fish Gate
Gate 3 The Old Gate
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