Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nehemiah 7:1-4

The meeting had been set, and all parties were present. Wu Sangui of the Ming Empire was secretly meeting with the Manchurian King Dorgon. Betrayed by his own dynasty, and exhausted by years of endless warring with the neighboring Manchurians, Wu decided to change his loyalties.
This would not have mattered much if Wu was a common soldier. But this was not the case. General Wu was responsible for the Shanhai Pass. The Shanhai Pass is a massive gate on the Great Wall of China, located 190 miles from the Forbidden City, the headquarters of the Ming Emperor.
Disenchanted by the affairs of his own people, Wu offered to open this crucial gate to the enemy Manchurian army. In a few short days the Manchu invaders had overwhelmed the Forbidden Palace and established the new Qing dynasty. The 2,500 miles of stone wall that the Mings had built for their protection had proven to be only as strong as one of the gatekeepers that guarded it.
As we get into Nehemiah 7, we find that the wall of Jerusalem was completed, and the gates were in place. Nehemiah then chose a handful of men to be “porters” (gatekeepers). Verse 2 tells us that for this role, he discerningly chose “a faithful man, [who] feared God above many.”
Like the Shanhai Pass, Nehemiah’s gate would only be as strong as its guardian. Nehemiah took specific care in choosing whom he would trust with such an important duty.
Just as Nehemiah had to carefully choose the ones who would control the city gates, we too must be discerning when it comes to those we allow to influence our lives. We must guard our affections and motivations. Whether it is friends who offer “good times” in exchange for godliness, or TV programs that offer humor at the expense of holiness, or even peers who offer recognition and acceptance in exchange for our relationship with Christ, we can never be slack in our decision to guard against wrong influences.
The rest of the story: A few years after the Qing dynasty had taken over, General Wu regretted his decision and tried to overthrow the new emperor. However, it was too late. The invading army had become too powerful and Wu’s forces were defeated.

Food For Thought: Read Proverbs 4:23-27. What phrase does Solomon use to describe setting up a “porter” in our own lives?