Rebuilding (Part 3) - Doing the Dirty Work





(Nehemiah 3:14, Pas. Baines, Jr. 8/2017)

Introduction: The book of Nehemiah is about rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. Chapter three narrates who did what in the rebuilding project. And verse 14 talks about the rebuilding of the dung gate.

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Key Points:

1. Dung happens. Notice in vs. 14 that the dung gate was the place of handling the dirty stinking garbage and waste of those who lived in the area. As in the text, if we just keep on living, there will be dirty stinking garbage and waste that we will have to deal with.

Some of the dung will be ordinary (e.g., left over scraps of food, empty containers, junk mail, and human excrement), some relational, some a product of our decisions (e.g., chasing “stuff” instead of God’s will for our lives, see Mt. 16:26), and some a matter of how people treat us (e.g., women, men, seniors, and children).

Belonging to God doesn’t exempt us from dung like situations (see Ps. 34:19a). Let’s live like we understand that dung is normal in our lives. This kind of living should be known for being calm and faithful, despite of dirty stinking stuff happening in our lives.

2. Without proper handling, dung gets worse (part one). Notice in vs. 14, the dung gate was where dung was to be handled properly. Without proper handling, germs and diseases are likely to spread. In like manner, if we don’t handle the dirty stinking stuff in our lives, it can go from bad to worse.

Think about how people try to deal with the pain in their lives with drinking, drugging, shopping, sexing, etc. Think about how health problems get worse, when we don’t take exercising, eating properly, rest, and medicine seriously. Financial troubles get worse, when we don’t take ownership of our situation and move forward.

Let’s live like we believe that dung can be dangerous. This kind of living should include our being responsive towards dung, instead of simply a victim of dung.

3. Without proper handling, dung gets worse (part two). Notice in vs. 14, the dung gate was where dung was to be handled properly. Community troubles get worse, when good people sit on the side lines.

Churches get worse, when so many people want to “stay out of what is going on.” I Corinthians 5:6-7 talks about a little leaven leavening the entire loaf. Let’s live like we believe that dung can be dangerous. This kind of living should include our being responsive towards dung, instead of simply a victim of dung.

4. With proper handling, dung can be fertilizer. Notice in Luke 13:8 that dung was used as fertilizer. In other words, dung can be used as the stuff that can help things grow. When we compare Genesis 37 with Genesis 45, we see how Joseph went from a dung like situation (i.e., pit) to a growth situation (i.e., palace).

We could say similarly about David and the woman with an issue of blood (see Mt 9:20-22). In like manner, God can turn our dung like situations into growth opportunities. Think about how God can turn today’s pain into tomorrow’s praise, peace, and power.

Let’s live like God can turn our dung into fertilizer. This kind of living means that we keep on obeying and trusting God, despite how bad things look.

5. Dung should be disposed of, if not used. Notice in vs. 14 the dung gate was a place of disposing of dung. By the grace of God, we don’t have to keep reliving and rehearsing the dirty stinking issues of our lives.

God can forgive us for the dirty stinking things that we have done. God can help us move past the dirty stinking things that have happened to us. Let’s work on disposing of the dung that is not used as fertilizer.

This calls for accepting forgiveness as well as moving on with our lives, instead of waddling in negativity as a hopeless victim. Through Christ, we are more than conquers (see Rom. 8:37).

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