Friday, September 26, 2008

Dung or Dawn

September 26, 2008

Nehemiah 2:13(JPS)
13 And I went out by night by the valley gate, even toward the dragon's well, and to the dung gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.

This must have been a glorious and depressing site for Nehemiah at the same time. You see, he had been sent by a pagan king to rebuild his own city, Jerusalem. With the cover of darkness he went out to inspect the gate and see what he needed to do since there were enemies that would want to stop him. As he started out he turned toward the southeast. This would be the area that the sun would rise from. It was the start of a new day that came from this area, a time when all problems of the past were that, in the past. But in order to look in that direction he had to look over the area of the Dung Gate.

Now the Dung Gate was not the area of Jerusalem that you would want to write home to mom and tell her you had visited. In fact, as they cleaned out the pagan worship items they would have been brought out this gate and thrown to the valley below it. Here it mingled with the refuse that was thrown out by the people. They did not have proper waste control in those days so they would let it build up and dispose of it when it got bad enough. It was thrown into the valley. Down there would be fires that did not go out as more and more waste was thrown on to it.

As Nehemiah looked, he saw this as his journey started. He had to make a choice. He could focus on the filth or he could focus on the new day. In the night it would be easy to focus on the death and depravity that the valley outside the dung gate would show him. It was lit up from the fires. In the day it would be in your face. But from that same direction came the promise of a brand new day.

So now you have a choice to make. Which will you look at? Will you look at the dung? Or will you look at the dawn? The choice is yours.

Read through the Bible in historical order
Nehemiah 1:1-5:19
Nehemiah 6:1-7:73
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