Nehemiah was a shepherd to Israel—a king, a pastor, a leader and a restorer who had taken Israel back to Jerusalem where they began rebuilding the walls that had been destroyed. Nehemiah left Jerusalem to visit the king of Persia and when he returned, he said, “In those days I saw . . .” (Nehemiah 13:15).
When Nehemiah got back to the city, he saw the children of Israel doing the exact same things their fathers had done that had caused them to be put into exile and bondage in the first place. They had been set free and were rebuilding their home city, but once again they were practicing the things that had caused the walls to be torn down. Does that make sense to you? While they were rebuilding, they were practicing the identical sins that had caused the walls to fall.
With one hand they were rebuilding the city and with the other hand they were destroying the city. With one hand they were building up their lives and with the other hand they were destroying their lives.
And so it is with many of us today! With one hand we come to the altar and cry out to Jesus and with the other hand we practice the same old sins. On one hand we pray, read Scripture and go to church; on the other hand, we still go to bars and clubs, we still watch pornography on the computer, we still compromise. With one hand we glorify God and on the other hand we live out the practices of the world.
The Israelites were returning to their old patterns. They were building something new but something old was still in them. It has been said that the children of Israel, under Moses, got out of Egypt but some of Egypt was still in them (see Acts 7:39). Some of us are getting set free from the things of the world but some of the world is still in us.
God wants us to come to a place of humility and repentance. He wants us to have a constant walk of victory—a walk of conquering the enemy—always!