The Passage: Nehemiah 3:1
The Point: God provides a way of restoration.
Eliashib and his brothers were responding to Nehemiah’s exhortation to “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem…” (Neh. 2:17). They put their backs and hands to work, fully trusting in the success God alone would give them (Neh. 2:20). The rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall surrounding the temple is described in Nehemiah 3 as beginning with Eliashib and his fellow priests at the sheep gate. Eliashib, whose name means “God restores,” personally took responsibility for repairing the sheep gate where the sacrificial animals would enter and be inspected.
High priest Eliashib was tasked with making the final examination of the lambs. It was through this sheep gate that the lambs without defect would pass. It was here that they would meet the standard of perfection before being slain as sin offerings to make atonement for the guilty. There were 10 restored gates surrounding Jerusalem; however, the sheep gate was the only one that is recorded as being “consecrated” or set apart.
The sheep gate was the passageway into the city and eventually to the temple where the innocent would pay the penalty for the guilty. There is only one entrance through which the guilty can enter into a relationship with God ― only one consecrated “narrow gate” that offers life, peace, and forgiveness. Jesus, the “Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) is both our sacrificial lamb and our high priest (1 Pet. 1:19; Heb. 4:14).
We must have a mediator; an intercessor, one by whom our peace with God can be secured. We also require an eternal and permanent sin offering to be made on our behalf. “For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Jesus Christ made a way for us to boldly approach the throne of grace. Have you accepted His offering on your behalf, a gift that cannot be received through achievement or endeavor? He is the gate to a restored and consecrated life.
- What is significant about Eliashib’s involvement?
- How do you think observing their spiritual leaders impacted the Israelites?
- How can you join God’s people in bringing restoration to your city?
- Where might God be calling you in His kingdom building plan?
- With whom can you share God’s story of restoration?