#Motivation For Men #21: Gates and Guards
Before his assignment as governor of Jerusalem, Nehemiah had reached the high position of cup bearer, essentially a butler, for Artaxerxes, who was at that time king of the Persian Empire. Serving the king in the citadel (fortified palace) of Susa in what is now modern-day Iran, Nehemiah would have been well acquainted with the security procedures for protecting a strategic city, and this knowledge came in handy during Jerusalem’s restoration. Now that the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem had been completed, Nehemiah had to reestablish more rigorous procedures for the city’s protection, particularly since there were regional rivals who had actively opposed the rebuilding of the wall with mocking, intimidation and threats.
What parallels do we have here for being vigilant concerning sexual temptation?
1. Manage the gate. In Nehemiah’s time the gate to the city was only open during daylight hours, when people were going about their normal daily business and had legitimate needs to enter and exit the city. Spiritually and naturally, nighttime is when many kinds of evil take place (1 Timothy 5:6-8), and this is true for many forms of sexual temptation as well. We should use the late evening as a time to turn away from channel / web surfing and turn our attention to the needs of our households.
2. Be at your post. In a city such as Jerusalem, guards would be strategically posted to be on the alert for impending danger and to guard the city’s vulnerable spots. We guard our hearts by ensuring we have the peace of God ruling in our hearts and not letting them get weighted down with the worries and cares of this life (Luke 21.34, Philippians 4:7).
3. Guard your household. As we have said before, this is not simply about ourselves. When we guard ourselves and our households against temptation and stumbling blocks, we invite God’s continued protection, blessing and prosperity for both ourselves and those who are in our care.
Through Nehemiah’s diligence, Jerusalem was given a second chance to be a place where God’s glory would dwell. What will you do with your second chance?