1 In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was at the fortress of Susa. 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
In my last post, I promised to address the United States’ Illegal Immigration problem from a biblical perspective, and one of the first things that I want to note is that Jerusalem, God’s holy city is and has been surrounded by a great wall, for many centuries. In fact, when the Jewish refugees returned to their ancient home, after being captives of first Babylon, then Persia for seventy years, they returned to find their city in tatters. Walls were torn down and burned. Why was this wall so important to Jerusalem, and can we draw any parallels between their wall and the United States’ determination to build a wall today?
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.
As you well know, there has been a lot of outcry in the U.S. regarding the building of a wall along our borders. On the one hand, we have people crying, “Build that wall!” while on the other hand, we have people equally outraged crying out against it. As I was preparing to write this post about illegal immigration from a bibilcal perspective, the Lord placed Nehemiah on my heart. Therefore, as I share his story with you, we will compare Jerusalem’s need for their wall to be restored, and our own nation’s cry for a wall.
1 Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. 2 So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.”
Then I was terrified, 3 but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
4 The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”
With a prayer to the God of heaven, 5 I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”
6 The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.
After much mourning, praying and fasting about the sad state of his homeland and its broken wall, the king of Persia, whom Nehemiah served as a cup-bearer, inquired about his obvious heartache. Nehemiah then told the king about his concern for Jerusalem, and his brothers and sisters, and the king immediately asked, “Well, how can I help you?” Obviously Nehemiah had favor with both God and King Artaxerxes.
The walls of Jerusalem were originally built to protect its inhabitants, including the Judean king, and the holy Temple of God, from the attacks of their enemies. The walls were built and rebuilt to keep Jerusalem’s enemies out…
After praying to the Lord, Nehemiah asked King Artaxerxes to send him to Jerusalem, so that he could rebuild that once great city on a hill, the land of his fathers, and the king agreed to do so, giving Nehemiah a letter to Asaph, the manager of his forest, instructing him to give Nehemiah the lumber he needed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, its gates, the Temple gates, and a house for Nehemiah. King Artaxerxes also sent letters to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to allow Nehemiah to pass safely through their land so he could rebuild the city of Jerusalem. The king also sent horsemen and army officers along to protect Nehemiah. (see Nehemiah 2:7-9).
11 So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, 12 I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding. 13 After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates. 14 Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. 15 So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.
16 The city officials did not know I had been out there or what I was doing, for I had not yet said anything to anyone about my plans. I had not yet spoken to the Jewish leaders—the priests, the nobles, the officials, or anyone else in the administration. 17 But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” 18 Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.
They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.
As I read the response of Jerusalem’s city officials, priests, nobles and members of the administration, I immediately drew a parallel to the response of many of our nation’s citizens cry for Donald Trump to, “Build that wall!” Like those Jewish refugees from so long ago, our nation’s citizens are weary of the terrorism and hatred that is taking place within and without our nation’s borders.
Please bear with me as I attempt to speak for those United States’ citizens who love our great nation, and who, contrary to the accusations of many more liberal people within the nation, are neither bigoted, racist, hate-filled xenophobes, homophobes, or any of the other epithets aimed at them. The men and women of this nation, who are crying out for our immigration laws to be obeyed, are simply men and women who care about this nation’s citizens and its children. Those who want that wall built, do not want it built to keep good, law-abiding immigrants out, but to keep those out, who have no respect for the law. We have not cried out for new immigration laws, but for those laws that have already been written, to be enforced. There are some who accuse the people who believe this way of being inhumane. Some even accuse Christians of not being “good Christians” because they hold these beliefs. I disagree.
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
According to scripture, a “good Christian” obeys the law of the land, providing that law does not cause us to disobey God. Enforcing our nation’s immigration laws does not cause people to disobey God. Furthermore, I would submit that many, who are promoting sanctuary cities, and encouraging people to disobey federal immigration laws, are not being humane, but anarchists. Indeed, when we look at the actions of those who accused President Trump of being a demagogue, who stirred up violence in his campaign, we soon discover that it is many of these people, who are in fact, demagogues. They have attempted to preempt free speech, by leading violent riots against anyone who does not support their views, on many college campuses across the country. It is many of these people, rather than the ones supporting adherence to the nation’s immigration laws, who are engaging in anarchy.
Legal immigrants and refugees have been, and always will be welcome to settle into our country. However, those enter into our country illegally, already demonstrate a lack of respect for the laws of our land. It is utterly wrong to reward those who illegally enter this country, demonstrating their contempt for our laws, while other immigrants, who choose to come to this country legally, must wait for years sometimes. Further, how is it logical or reasonable to expect the taxpayers of this nation to support illegal immigrants with free healthcare, no taxes, food benefits, and other aid, while many legal citizens are often unable to obtain the help they need???
Is it reasonable to welcome people that we know nothing about, people who may be terrorists and criminals, into this nation? Absolutely not! Those who claim that welcoming everyone into our land is humane are wrong. It is not humane to our own citizens, who may become prey to terrorists and criminals, simply because some people wanted to feel good about themselves by letting anyone and everyone enter our country.
Laws are put into place for the good of the citizens of that land. Immigration laws protect a nation’s citizens. Look at how quickly and horribly radical Islamic terrorism has invaded Europe, since those countries within the European Union have no borders.
A border wall between the United States and Mexico, another nation, is not the same as the Berlin wall, which separated brothers and sisters from the same country (indeed the same city!). Just as Jerusalem’s walls were necessary and approved of by God, to protect Judea’s sovereignty, so too, is it necessary to protect the sovereignty of the U.S.A., and if that means building a wall, I feel certain the Lord would approve.
- To read the entire book of Nehemiah online, please click the following links to each chapter, which can be found on biblegateway.com – Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah 3, Nehemiah 4, Nehemiah 5, Nehemiah 6, Nehemiah 7, Nehemiah 8, Nehemiah 9, Nehemiah 10, Nehemiah 11, Nehemiah 12, Nehemiah 13
- Definition to anarchy found on dictionary.com
Cheryl A. Showers