Nehemiah 7:3 (New International Version)
3 I said to them, "The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses."
When I read this verse a few days ago, I just had to look it up in the notes in my trusty Life Application Bible. Being a "digger" and "explorer" when I read, I love the LAB, and being able to look right away at the bottom of the page for more information when I have a question.
In the case of this verse; why, I wondered, did Nehemiah give this order, not to open the gates of the city until the sun was hot?
The notes told me that city gates were usually opened at sunrise, enabling merchants to enter and set up their tent stores. Nehemiah though, did not want Jerusalem to be caught unprepared by an enemy attack, so her ordered the gates closed until well after sunrise when the people were sure to be awake and alert.
I couldn't help thinking of the need for such vigilant protection of our own households. Nehemiah said, "Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses."
I want to be at my post, when it comes to praying for "my house," and those in it. I want to be alert to our vulnerability to enemy attack, and not let down my guard.
How do we let down our guard? In many ways!
Whenever we engage in counsel to our family members using human wisdom rather than counsel based on God's ways. We are so easily influenced by the culture around us and often blind to the fact that we are.
Whenever we fail to put God first in our hearts and in our activities.
When we grow lax in what we allow as input to the soul.
When we fail to pray.
Dear Lord, like Nehemiah, I want to be on guard and protective of the trust you have given me. Keep me awake and alert and at my post; a vigilant sentry in your army.