At the end of your column “Fox News and the crisis of the press,” you welcomed my thoughts. Here they are.
Linking the crisis we now face with the crisis Nehemiah faced is a good place to start if we are to understand the nature of our problem and understanding its cure. The report Nehemiah received about the condition of Jerusalem and the condition of the United States today are very similar.
“And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province [are] in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also [is] broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” (Nehemiah 1:3 AV)
The walls of Jerusalem represented more than just the physical stones that separated the city.
“… but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” (Isaiah 60:18 AV)
When the walls that distinguished Israel from the nations around then were broken down, then God allowed the physical walls the fall also. It is also true of America. What we are now experiencing in a physical sense is mirroring what has already happened spiritually. As a nation we have rejected God and forsaken His Word. Now that the walls have come down, the infrastructure, pillars and foundation are beginning to crumble.
Even in our short history we as a nation have had our ups and downs, just like Israel. We sometimes look to that date when we achieve our independence as the founding of a nation. But the foundation of this nation was established much earlier by the Pilgrims and Puritans. When we as a nation have followed righteousness God has blessed. Revivals and spiritual awakenings have kept us alive.
So what is that wall that distinguished Israel as a nation? What is the wall that distinguished America and provides peace and safety for those who lived there? It is the Word of God. Jesus summed it up by these two commandments: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The essence of these commandments are contained in the Ten Commandments, which teach us how fulfill these essential commands. Our declaration of Independence and our Constitution were pillars of this nation that were intended to establish and maintain our distinction and safety of our people. Law was the wall that kept us safe from those who sought to destroy us. Originally, that law was based upon the God’s Word. When that foundation of the Ten Commandments began to crumble, law became arbitrary and opinion-oriented. Our Constitution and Law is no longer keeping us safe.
What’s the answer to our crisis? What can we do? First we need to recognize the truth of where we are. The wall that has protected our nation has been torn down. The wall of protection, the wall that sets us free and preserves our freedom, is the Law of God. A society that accepts the moral values articulated in the Ten Commandments, and lives by that code, lives in freedom. Our peace and safety is disrupted only by those who transgress that Law.
The parallel between Nehemiah’s crisis and ours is so close I believe we can learn a lot from the way Nehemiah handled the crisis of his day. First he prayed and fasted. He allowed his faith in God to trump his fear man. When God opened the door for him to be part of the solution he boldly stepped forward in faith. The obstacles he faced are very similar to what we are facing today. He faced fierce opposition, mocking and false accusation. He faced the ominous task of rebuilding the walls. The rubble from the collapsed wall was an obstacle itself. He had to face the task of inspiring his own people to attempt the daunting task of rebuilding the wall.
“And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and [there is] much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.” (Nehemiah 4:10 AV)
“And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.” (Nehemiah 4:11 AV)
What was the answer to Nehemiah’s dilemma? What is the answer to our crisis? How to we move forward when our strength is decayed just looking at the rubbish covering the foundation? Can we save this nation? How do we fight discouragement?
Learning from Nehemiah, I believe the answer lies in what we focus on. If we focus on what a mess our country is in, it will sap the strength right out of us. We need to focus on the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus the Christ. The first thing he has us do is get rid of the rubbish in our own lives, get right back to that foundation that is sure. Then with a mind to do the work begin with what is right in front of us. By getting families to focus on their portion of the wall, with a member with a sword that had their back, the wall was built.
I realize that presenting a solution through analogy is easier that the logistics of enacting that solution. I don’t know if we can save our nation. But I do know that we can find salvation for ourselves and anyone who will heed the Word of God. Those of us that have experienced the peace and safety that is found in Jesus can’t just sit still, but we have to continue to point others to the way. The walls of Salvation exist for those who will enter the gates of praise. We would like to extend the wall around our country, but that will not happen unless each of us encompasses as much territory as we can. That territory starts with our life. It can extends to our family, church, or to whoever is willing. Some of us have a wider sphere of influence than others. Thank God for those pastors, churches and yes even news reporters that stand for truth and righteousness, willing to stand for the unadulterated Word of God.