“…the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and the gates thereof are burned with fire…”
“And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:”
But it’s not easy.
The people who had been living around Jerusalem during the exile of the Jews, were not happy with this new plan to rebuild. They are now doing everything in their power to stop the Israelites from doing this great work.
But they were not to be stopped. In an astonishing 52 days the wall was done, due to the determination of the Israelites.
“Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.”
After the wall was done, the Israelites celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles for the first time since their exile from Jerusalem. It was to be the most joyous celebration. The people were hungry for the Word of the Lord. Ezra the scribe, teaches them understanding of the scriptures and reveals the Law to them. By the end of the 8 day celebration, they are all willing to enter into a covenant with the Lord
“… to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;”
Now is the time to remember our forefathers, restore the teachings of the prophets in our dispensation and those past, and rebuild the correct standards based off of those teachings.
Were Nehemiah and his people commanded to re-build the wall? Yes. Have we been commanded to build Zion? Yes!
Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion;
President Brigham Young stated:
“We talk and read about Zion, we contemplate upon it, and in our imaginations we reach forth to grasp something that is transcendent in heavenly beauty, excellency, and glory. But while contemplating the future greatness of Zion, do we realize that we are the pioneers of that future greatness and glory? Do we realize that if we enjoy a Zion in time or in eternity, we must make it for ourselves? That all who have a Zion in the eternities of the gods organized, framed, consolidated, and perfected it themselves, and consequently are entitled to enjoy it.
…When we conclude to make a Zion we will make it, and this work commences in the heart of each person. When the father of a family wishes to make a Zion in his own house, he must take the lead in this good work, which it is impossible for him to do unless he himself possesses the Spirit of Zion. Before he can produce the work of sanctification in his family, he must sanctify himself, and by this means God can help him to sanctify his family.”Journal of Discourses 9:283
“As important as it is to have this vision in mind, defining and describing Zion will not bring it about. That can only be done through consistent and concerned daily effort by every single member of the Church. No matter what the cost in toil or sacrifice, we must do it. … we must lay on the altar and sacrifice whatever is required by the Lord. We begin by offering a ‘broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ …We consecrate our time, talents, and means as called upon by our file leaders and as prompted by the whisperings of, the Spirit….And as we give, we find that ‘sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven!’ (Hymns, no. .) And in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all.” (President Spencer W. Kimball In Conference Report, Apr. 1978, pp. 122–24; or Ensign, May 1978, p. 81.)
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object.”
Thus we see that the building up of Zion must be an objective of the righteous followers of Jesus Christ. And not only an objective, but a reality.
In Nehemiah, the Israelites were often discouraged by the immense amounts of rubbish that hindered their work. Note that they weren’t building a brand new wall, but they were re-building a wall over piles of debris and ash. As we are rebuilding and purging our families, we CANNOT become discouraged and decide it’s too hard. That is what Satan wants us to think and we can’t fall for it. As we strive to stay close with the Lord and obey Him, He will replace our weaknesses with His strength to accomplish His work.
In Nehemiah, the call to rebuild the wall (or in our case, the New Jerusalem/Zion) was not simply a renovation project, it was a call for the Jews to rebuild their lives and their families. It was a call to take back and rebuild the land of their fathers. They had learned their lesson after being in Babylon and they were recommitting themselves to obedience to God. It was a witness or action of their change of heart.
Each family does their part of building, protecting and fortifying their part of the wall/Zion, by casting off the bad, and replacing it with holiness that lines up with the standards the Lord has revealed. By doing as God directs in Doctrine and Covenants 109:8– “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;” Zion becomes possible.
Let us take this command of the Lord seriously and put our homes in order to His glory.
Fully consecrating ourselves to God and His Work, replacing the bad with the best, and casting out all vain or worldly things/influences.
Where are the families that are willing to rise up and say that NOW is the time for us to give our family to Christ and have Him lead our home? Where are you who are willing to give up the worldly things for a more abundance of faith, love, and charity in your lives and homes? Who will raise the standard and get rid of worldly influences (rock music, immodesty, crude language, movies that distract, wasting time, etc.,) and replace those things with things that the Lord has sanctioned? Filling your homes with holiness, purity, soberness, and faith, is what the Lord has asked us to do. Who will do it?
Who is willing to enlist in this cause? Who will have a “mind to work?” Who will “not come down from the wall?”
Now is the time to “consider our ways”. If we continue on the path we now are on, where will it lead us? Are we on the path that God wants you to be on? Do we even know what way we are taking?
I highly encourage you to read the 6th section from Lectures on Faith which excellently addresses this topic.
We all know that without God’s help and guidance, this challenge is impossible. But because we serve a mighty and merciful God, and that with Him, all things are possible. And as we live according to His revealed principles, He will endow us with power from on High to do His will.
“…They entered into an oath, to walk in God’s law, …and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;”