Nehemiah 7:3: “And I [Nehemiah] said to them, ‘Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.'”

August 7th, 2020 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Once the wall and gates around the city of Jerusalem were rebuilt, Nehemiah gave very specific and detailed instructions to the gatekeepers. In the ancient world, the gates to a city were usually opened at sunrise and closed at sunset, but Nehemiah wanted the gates barred until the city was wide awake and able to defend itself if needed. And then at night the gates were shut and bolted before the guards went off duty. Some guards were stationed at guard posts and others in front of their own homes. Nehemiah was wise to put so much emphasis on the guards because gates and walls are only as good as the people who guard them. One historian tells us that China’s enemies penetrated the Great Wall of China at least 4 times, each time by bribing the guards.

We have already found that many of the events recorded in Nehemiah can easily be viewed as symbolic or metaphorical for the believer’s spiritual life. All these specific directions for the guarding of the city can be applied to our own need to set a guard, to be spiritually aware of eminent attacks from the evil one. Nehemiah perceived that a small change in schedule, keeping the gates locked until they could be certain they were safe and then locking them at night while guards were still stationed, could protect and change the future of the whole city.

Recent scientific studies on college students’ test performances suggest that early morning study yielded the highest test scores. This is interesting because David wrote 3000 years ago: “O God, You are my God; / Early will I seek You” (Psalm 63:1). What small change in what we watch, listen to, and do could we make today that would protect our spiritual life from attack?

“LORD, we want to grow in You and be spiritually strong this day. Help us to set guards over our tongues, eyes, and ears today, in Jesus’ name.”