CHAPTER 20: BEWARE OF THE JERUSALEM SERPENT WELL; DUNG/REFUSE GATE

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Nehemiah 2:13 “And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the  Dung Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.”

Lately, the watchman is interested in why many Christians are weak, succumbs to sickness and live in defeat and fears. He reads that the Dung Gate describes how in practice the defilement in our bodies and minds should be rooted out and burn. Through the Dung Gate, trashes were taken out of Jerusalem, to a valley of Hinnom, where smelly, rotten and disease infested trashes were burnt. The Dung Gate spiritual meaning is that sin, like trashes, could defile and destroy our physical and mental being and must be cast out and burn.

Jesus described about how a person could be defiled in Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

The watchman discovers that there is a spiritual link between the refuse in one’s heart and the Serpent. In his night inspection, Nehemiah had to go through the Serpent Well to get to the Dung Gate to view the damage of the Jerusalem walls. The defilement of our hearts (bodies and minds) is due to the whole world being under the control of the devil/Serpent (1 John 5:19). For example, there is no need to teach a child evil. The child simply acquires it through the world system.

How could a man’s heart be cleansed then? He has found that only God (His presence, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the Word) could cleanse our hearts. It is appropriate that the next Gate of Jerusalem is the Fountain Gate!

Nehemiah 3:14: “Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem, repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.”

Sinner who repents and believes in Jesus is redeemed by the blood of Jesus (the Lamb of God). His heart needs to be continually washed and cleansed by the fire of the Holy Spirit and through the words of God. These are like the bolts and bars of the doors. Otherwise, a Christian is weak and can be subject to spiritual attack and defilement resulting in physical and mental illness, broken marriages, failed finances, disastrous relationship etc.

The following is a record in his journal, on his finding of such evidences of defilement of men’s hearts resulting in overt attacks on the body of Christ (the church). ___________________Journal day 50: Things that proceed out of your heart matter

Matthew 15:3-7: “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” “Hypocrites!”

The religious leaders and teachers criticized Jesus for allowing His disciples to eat without first doing their traditional religious ceremonial washing of hands. Jesus then rebuked them for looking at the forms of so called religious acts and not being sincere in their hearts in following the true intentions of God. These men have chosen to devise traditions and rituals to supersede God’s original good intention. Jesus rightly scolded them as religious hypocrites.

Jesus further explained to the disciples what he meant, as described above in Mark 7:21-23. The religious leaders who were ardent practitioners of religious rites were in fact part of the worldly system. They did not know God or Jesus. They did not want to know. Whilst Jesus was showing what God is like (through His numerous teachings on the kingdom of heaven, His mercy and compassion on the multitudes, His healing and deliverance power over diseases and demons, His supernatural power over the natural forces etc.), they were busily plotting to murder Him, denying the mighty work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus.

My application:

What comes out of the heart determines what the mouth utters. What I feed my heart with determines what comes out of my heart. Biblical living means I need to feed my heart daily with sufficient good strong spiritual food, from the words of God. Feeding once or twice a week will make the spirit man starve.

with the goal of seeking to know God more spiritually, I am now trying to fast one meal (dinner) a day during week days and it is not easy. The physical man cries out for food with hunger pang. All sorts of hunger-induced symptoms manifest themselves automatically. I even feel weak for much physical activity. I have to give myself a lot of excuses so I can break my fast by drinking rich liquid food or having not so light snacks… (Sigh) One little meal shortage causes such havoc.

What about the spirit man who lives on irregular minuscule meals? Is he starving to death quietly? Looking at my past Bible reading habit, I no longer marvel why I did not have the more abundant life that Jesus has promised to His believers. My resolution now is to continue reading more of God’s words and less of the world’s words.

I have given up reading/watching/hearing a lot of junks (newspapers, magazines, TV programs, conversations on worldly matters), to free up my mind and my heart. It is foolish to be feeding on rubbish and expecting treasures to come out.

A testimony:

There is indeed miraculous healing and deliverance power in the words of God. Recently after the specialist doctors stopped all medications and pronounced any further medical treatment useless, we have played the audio Bible verses for about a week, to a bed-ridden dementia 77 year old man with water in the brain, who deteriorated fast reaching the point when he could not even swallow water, he woke and regained the functioning of his mind, his swallowing (including solid food now!), his ability to converse, to recognize people and remember their names, and to live his usual life on a wheelchair.

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ears to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:20-23) This is my motto now.

17-4-2009

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