Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 3:1-4:23 / Revelation 17:1-18 / Psalm 147:12-20
Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls and restore the gates. Each gate was significant and they were in need of repair. Nehemiah lists the gates here in chapter 3 and our lives, just like these gates are at times in need of repair and restoration.
The Sheep gate was the gate where the lambs were brought into the city to be sacrificed at the temple altar. This gate represents the cross on which the Lamb of God was sacrificed for our sins. This was the first gate repaired and the foundation of our redemption.
Next was the Fish gate. Jesus said, “follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) We are called to be His witnesses but if the gate of our witness has crumbled, we lose our witness. Our witness needs to be secure and effective. The Old gate was next and it represents truth. The truth of old is at times ridiculed and dismissed. The Word of God is true and must be established.
Those who travelled from the valley into the city used the Valley gate. It represents a place of humility, a place of lowliness of mind and humbleness of heart. God responds graciously to the lowly, humble and contrite. Pride must be dismantled before the valley gate can be used.
The Dung gate led out to the city dump in the Hinnon valley. When we repent, Christ removes the garbage and sin of our lives. We stand clean and purified before God! The Fountain gate is likened to Christ’s promise of a fountain of living water springing up within us to where we never thirst again. The Holy Spirit is to flow through us like a vibrant fountain, not a stagnant cistern. Is the Holy Spirit vibrantly flowing through our lives or stopped up by sin and doubt?
Next we read of the Water gate and water is always a symbol of the Word of God. Interestingly, this is the only gate that did not need repaired in Jerusalem. The Word of God does not need to be fixed, changed or altered. We simply need to believe and walk in the assurance of His Word. The East gate faced the rising sun and was a gate of anticipation and hope. We have great hope and expectancy of Christ’s return and walking through the Eastern gate.
As horses were a powerful force in warfare, the Horse gate is symbolic of spiritual warfare. We do not contend with flesh and blood but against principalities and powers…against the spiritual hosts of wickedness. Are we fighting or surrendering? Finally the Inspection gate was repaired. This was the gate where court was conducted and judgment was passed. We need to be regularly examined by God’s Word and His Spirit. These gates were important to Jerusalem and also for us. What gates are in need of repair in your life?