Reading in Nehemiah I couldn’t help but notice that the word “repaired” was repeated over and over again in Chapter 3.
This passage is all about how Nehemiah found the walls of Jerusalem in ruin and was inspired by God to have them rebuilt. Often when I think of “walls” I think of the walls that I’ve put up around my own heart to protect me. My walls have been used in the past to keep everyone out… including those I love, and even for some time, to keep God out too. I’ve spent years learning to tear DOWN my walls. If you’ve spent any time on my blog, you’ve seen lots of references to the REMOVAL of walls!
And here I find Nehemiah with instructions to REBUILD the walls of Jerusalem.
And over and over again I see that the different sections of the wall were repaired.
The word repaired in my NIV Bible, is translated from the word cHazaq in Hebrew. And while the word repaired works fine in this picture of rebuilding a wall, I was struck with how ELSE this word is used.
cHazaq also means to give strength, to be made strong, to rally strength, to encourage.
So, would God want to have me made strong? Would God want to encourage me, to give me strength? YES!
I kept reading…
It also is used to say “to take courage, to hold onto, to embrace, to cling, to take hold of, to fasten (join together), to be equipped, supported, to fight bravely.
The same word is used in this verse
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. Genesis 19:16
And again here
Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Genesis 21:18
Sometimes there is a valid reason for needing protection. But God clearly wants to be with us on the inside of those protective walls. He wants to join together with us to keep us safe. He draws a picture of “repairing” that is synonymous with us taking hold of His hand and then clinging to Him. He repairs our heart walls with His strength, His love, and His bracings.
There is no shame in needing repair. Not once does the definition of repair say “fix” in the Hebrew word.
I think sometimes we get offended that God would want to “repair” us because that means we need fixing. But this really isn’t about fixing anything is it.
Take the beauty of an old abandoned, decaying barn. (one of my favorite things). If you “fixed” it – it would become something totally different. It would lose some of its character and charm. But to strengthen it to keep it from falling down completely would be a wonderful thing. Especially if you could do it from the inside. Brace the walls, give it support, fortify it from within and it will stand forever.
I can imagine that the way I feel about looking at old buildings like this one is similar to how God looks at me. He sees beauty, as is.
Am I weak in places? Yes, of course, but he doesn’t want to just tear me all the way down and start over. He chooses instead to “repair”.
He chooses instead to take what is already here, and give it what it needs to stand strong and triumph. The story I hold in all my fallen walls is one that deserves to be gazed upon and loved.
I choose to also embrace my weaknesses not in shame, but by reaching out my hand to take hold of the One who will give me strength and victory.
I cry out “cHazaq me Lord! In all the ways it could be defined!”
Repair me Lord
Strengthen me Lord
Encourage me Lord
Support me Lord
Join together with me Lord
Fortify me Lord
Brace me Lord
Embrace me Lord
Equip me Lord
Fight bravely with me Lord
Triumph with me Lord
Be victorious with me Lord