by Trafford Fischer, Director, Department of Family Ministries on behalf of Pastor Michael Worker, Secretary, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia
It is God by His Spirit who helps us to fight for marriage and family.
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14 NIV)
While Nehemiah was in Babylon, he received news that Jerusalem, his beloved city, was in ruins. He writes, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed” (Nehemiah 1:4). With permission from his king, he travelled home to Jerusalem to find the report all too true – the walls were broken down, the gates were burnt and useless, and rubble ruled the streets. Nehemiah called the people together and said, “You see the troubles we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. . .” (2:17).
The people responded with enthusiasm and began the task of removing the rubble, rebuilding the wall, and restoring the gates. But the critics turned up and scorned and belittled their efforts, and the people grew weary of the task. One reporter noted that “The strength of the labourers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall” (4:10).
Nehemiah “stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families . . .” (4:13). Then, he stood before the leaders and the people and said, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (4:14).
There are times when we need to fight for those things we treasure deeply. There are times when our families are vulnerable and we need to ‘build’ and ‘protect.’ There are times when we need to stand at the places of highest risk – “the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places” – and stand as families for what we believe to be immoveable and irreplaceable. When the rubble from lost opportunities seems too much, when the walls of right and wrong are being broken down, when the gates that protect us are being burnt and rendered useless, we turn to our God, who is great and awesome, and in His Spirit, we fight – for our brothers, our sons, our daughters, our wives and our homes.
I can recall my father saying to me as a child, “A dead fish floats with the stream, the live one swims against the current.” As faith-communities have we been floating when we should have been fighting? Have we been drifting when we should have been directing, complacent when we should have been compelling, dead when we should have been alive? Have we allowed the walls of our ‘city’ to crumble around us while busy doing business? Have we been too busy doing life and missed the smoke in the air from the smouldering gates?
God of heaven and earth, great and awesome, we seek your Spirit of love and compassion, grace and goodness, as we work together to ‘build’ and ‘protect.’ We seek Your forgiveness for the times we have walked over rubble, missed broken walls and burning gates, and become discouraged from criticism. Forgive us for floating when we should have been fighting. Grant us a portion of Nehemiah’s energy, commitment and resilience as we make a stand in our time, and in our cities. Amen.
Watch Fighting for Traditional Marriage – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPp7xHd4nzs
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- A Miracle for Marriage
- Truth to be Exposed
- A Spirit of Repentance in the Church
- Revival and Transformation in our Nation
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Daily Zoom video one hour prayer calls at 7AM, 1PM & 8PM to pray for marriage and family. To register and get log in details for the Zoom conference call go to www.prayercall.com.au