Your wall of separation needs to take in the temple and all the assembly of people who are called by His name surrounding it. In this way spiritual fellowship must and will call you and me to break out of our own little shell and become a part of something larger than those in our immediate family.
By Nevin Bass
And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel (Neh. 8.1).
THERE ARE SOME SIGNIFICANT things that can take place inside the walls of separation and protection that seldom, if ever, take place anywhere else. The work of rebuilding the walls is now complete. The walls and gates have been made secure. There has been a reckoning of the people.
And now the people of God are about to learn something about worship that they had not experienced for over a hundred years. What the people of God learned and experienced in Nehemiah chapter eight is an important reality for you and me even to this day. The people learned that worship can truly take place outside the confines of the temple. Notice the setting for this first portion of chapter eight:
And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate… (Neh. 8:1).
This did not take place inside the temple, but out in the street where they lived. I know this is a simple truth, yet it was a truth obscured by generation after generation of oppression. Israel was oppressed by the enemies of God and the lifestyles of those who did not know Jehovah. The reason they were so oppressed by the people of the world is that there were no lines of separation between them and the unbelievers around them. When there are no lines of demarcation and protection from the world, worship is more a ritual than a reality. In this setting worship IS something confined to the temple and seldom found in the street. You see, as long as the wall of Jerusalem lay in ruins, worship was restricted to the temple alone. As soon as there was a clear line of separation between God’s people and the world, worship became the all-encompassing thing God intended.
Where are those who view the walls of God’s city as barriers that restrict worship now? How many of you have heard from your nonbelieving and even perhaps from your professing friends that godly standards of conduct and life are “too restrictive” and are “legalistic”? We are told that drawing a line between God’s people and the world is meanspirited and restricts the freedom of Worship. Let these folks come with us to Nehemiah chapter eight and explain their position from God’s Word. What they will find is that after the walls of separation were reestablished, worship was renewed as it had not been in the last century. Notice what else happens spiritually when people reestablish God’s boundaries in their lives….