Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri. ~Nehemiah 3:1-2
One of the great iconic structures in the world is the Golden Gate Bridge here in our own San Francisco. Tourists come from all over the world to cross it, walk on it, and to observe the breathtaking views of “The City” and the Pacific Ocean. As ships coming in from the Pacific Ocean would see the bridge, its orange-red color looks somewhat golden from a distance, especially when the sun is shining on it. The bridge is seen as the gateway into San Francisco and to the world. Gates are entry and exit points. They are essential components of a wall. In our devotion this morning, we see Nehemiah and some faithful, dedicated men working side by side in repairing the gates of the wall of Jerusalem. The Babylonians had burned these gates with fire many years before when they invaded Jerusalem and took it captive. For the next three days, we are considering ten gates that had to be repaired. Each gate speaks of a significant doctrine and aspect of the Christian life.
The first gate is the SHEEP GATE.
This gate was at the northernmost point of the city of Jerusalem. It was given this name because sheep would enter from there for the temple sacrifices. There was only one entry for sheep, and it was this gate. The sheep gate speaks of salvation. It pictures for us the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. The starting point for a relationship with God and for the Christian life is salvation. Salvation is placing my complete trust and faith in the shed blood and death on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ for my sins. I must come through this gate in order to be saved. I must come through Jesus. Take away salvation, and you cannot be saved. Take away salvation, and all the other gates have no significance. Interestingly, Eliashib the high priest took the lead with his brethren, the priests, in restoring this gate. His name means “God restores,” Jesus Christ is our “Great High Priest” Who gave His life for every sinner.
The second gate is the FISH GATE.
“But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.” The fish gate was to the northwest of the sheep gate. The fish gate is symbolic of witnessing and soulwinning. It is fitting that the fish gate is the second gate that was restored. After salvation, we are to give a vibrant witness of our faith in Christ. Christ told His disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The priority of every church and Christian is the winning of souls to Christ. “He that winneth souls is wise.” We are to let down our nets for a “draught,” or large catch. Consider some of the men who helped build this gate. There was Meremoth, whose name means “elevations.” We must elevate soulwinning as a priority. There is Meshullam, which means “friend.” There is Zadok, which means “righteous.” We are to do what we can to get people saved!
Last, there is the OLD GATE.
“Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.” The old gate was on the western side of the wall. The old gate is symbolic of the ancient landmarks and paths of our faith. “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein,” Jer. 6:16. This refers to Biblical doctrines, principles, and standards. These are things that cannot change. Like Paul, we must “keep the faith.”
Are there broken gates in your life? Be like Nehemiah and his friends, and rebuild your broken gates!
Have a strengthened God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 8-10