“Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel. And next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.”
Nehemiah 3:1-2 (ESV)Last time we listened in while our leader responded to criticism about the rebuilding work. He pushed back that he himself sought to do nothing. But in community would they arise and build, relying on God’s power in their midst. Today we see the group begin, starting with the high priest, his fellow priests, and the wall nearest Temple.Our high priest’s name is Eliashib, which means “God restores.” He is the grandson of Jeshua, the high priest who, along with Zerubbabel, led our exiles in rebuilding the Temple. Eliashib takes the lead in building and consecrating the Sheep Gate.
This seems like a good time for our map again:
See the Sheep Gate at the far right of the map and how it faces Mount Zion? This made the priests the appropriate choice to be the ones to build it. This gate’s name came from the animals led through it on their way to be sacrificed before Covenant Yahweh. It is mentioned in the New Testament in John 5.
It was also noted how the rebuilding began with gates as enemy assaults were typically focused on them. Which makes sense: knock down the entrance and come on in to destroy. So what does the brotherhood of priests do? Consecrate it (qadash – set apart, appoint) and set its doors: amad – to stand, take one’s stand, abide.
How are our gates? If our enemy was looking for a way in your life, where would he look? Anything on which you need to stand? Ways He is calling you to be set apart so you are prepared for Him to flow through you?
How about us as the Body? Remember, a gate is a door. Its purpose is to keep evil out and welcome the good. No need to fear the winds of the Spirit with a Gate set apart to protect His glory. Does it show off His goodness and beauty and holiness? Welcome in. Does it lift high His flawless Word and scandalous Gospel? Entre. Is it permeated with peace and smell like self-sacrificial love and humble gentleness? That would be fruit of His orchard nothing can stop.
These priests built right next to the men of Jericho and Zaccur. Working together to restore and rebuild. Friends, there’s much work to be done during our tenure here. So much we can learn from each other. Let’s pray more than we vent, listen more than we speak.
Because there is nothing He won’t do for His glory and our good.