As I began reading the book of Nehemiah, God showed me some parallels between this historical account and our marriages that I wanted to share.
Hanani, one of my kinsmen, came with certain men from Judah, and I asked them about the surviving Jews who had escaped exile, and about Jerusalem. Vs 2
And they said to me, The remnant there in the province who escaped exile are in great trouble and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its [fortified] gates are destroyed by fire. Vs 3
The remnant were those who belonged to God; and when Nehemiah asked about them, he found out that they were in danger. Their walls had fallen and they were under persecution day and night. Likewise, the beloved people of God who are reading this now have fallen under attack. The walls that protected your marriages have been destroyed, allowing the enemy to have access to attack you and your family. Walls are in place to keep the enemy out of our marriages, and to protect the good things that are inside the walls. In a healthy marriage, there are walls that surround the two of you that ensure nothing penetrates the sanctity of the marriage. Walls keep out pornography, infidelity, and negative opinions. Walls keep in the love, honesty, and faithfulness. The enemy cannot get in to a marriage unless one or both spouses allow a spot in the wall to become weak.
When I heard this, I sat down and wept and mourned for days and fasted and prayed [constantly] before the God of heaven. Vs 4
To Nehemiah, this was no time to just accept that things would never change. He took three vital steps upon the realization that the walls had been destroyed. We can and should follow his example.
- He wept and mourned for days. This may not look like an action, but it is. Nehemiah recognized the severity of the situation, and he mourned. He didn’t assume that things would fix themselves, or that someone else would jump in and do everything for him.
- He fasted. Fasting is mentioned over and over in the Bible as a form of weakening the flesh in order to strengthen your spiritual resolve. Fasting is an act of obedience and reverence. It does not have to be a full fast, without food; it can be only certain foods or drinks, or even specific activities. Fasting is meant to be done with a heart full of humility and petition.
- He prayed. Clearly prayer is one of the first things we should do; but it wasn’t just a one time request, it says that he prayed constantly. God is moved by consistent and fervent prayer.
The wall is down, which exposes you to attacks, so now is the time to follow in Nehemiah’s footsteps and mourn, fast, and pray.