There is a wall that stands between the enemy and God’s people: a wall that stands as a line of demarcation between what God says and what our culture says; a wall that refuses to call evil good and good evil; a wall that protects our children; a wall that protects their minds from being swayed by every wind and wave of doctrine; a wall that protects their hearts from the insidious, and nowadays much too obvious, schemes of the adversary who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking those he may devour. And, make no mistake, his belly is full.
We need to build a wall.
Nehemiah is a book about building a wall.
It is an extraordinary book about an extraordinary leader that led a ragtag group of Israelites to accomplish an extraordinary feat. It’s a story of leadership and teamwork: a leader who is patient enough to wait, but bold enough to act; and a group of people who come together as a team to accomplish God’s purpose.
You know the story. Nehemiah is the cupbearer to the king who leverages that relationship into securing the resources necessary to rebuild the wall around his home of Jerusalem. It really is a remarkable story.
Chapter three gets very little attention. Wedged into the narrative, this chapter is a listing of names that no one will ever memorize. There are no monuments for the names here. You’re not naming your children after them because of what you’re reading here. But they do get mentioned. God found it important enough to include these names here, to memorialize them, for a reason.
I didn’t count all the names listed, but there are a lot, for good reason. The wall around Jerusalem was substantial: 2.5 miles long with an average height of almost 40 feet and an average thickness of 8 feet. If you do the math, the façade of the wall has a surface area is 528,000 square feet. If you take an average masonry brick, each square foot would require 6 bricks, which means it would take 3,168,000 bricks to cover the outside of the wall. That’s a lot of bricks. And there were no cranes, bobcats, or dump trucks. Now, we know they were rebuilding the wall, so there was something already there, but that’s still a lot of work to be done by hand.
Heritage Preparatory School has a lot of work to do as we continue down this path of launching an upper school, expanding our physical space, and moving into a new chapter in the life of the school, and we can learn a lot from Nehemiah chapter three. The most important lesson, though, is that it takes a team. Building a school – and raising children – is not an individual sport. It requires people coming together to accomplish something bigger than themselves.
In chapter three, Nehemiah assigned groups to be responsible for a certain section of the wall. Each family or group was given a section on which they needed to work. And they needed to trust that the other families were taking care of their section. That’s the thing about a team: you have to trust that the other people involved are just as committed as you, and that they will take it just as seriously as you.
If we’re going to accomplish something really meaningful, something Kingdom-advancing, we need to come together to raise up a generation that will step into this world and make an impact.
Impact: the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another
An impact is a collision. The greater the mass, the greater the impact. We want to link arms with you, the family, with our churches, with our community to train up children in the way they should go so that when they walk across that stage, take that diploma and head off into the world, not only are they prepared, but that they have weight, mass, substance. So that the collision they create will reverberate through their culture.
52 days to rebuild a 2.5-mile-long, 40-foot-high, 8-foot-wide wall. That type of achievement takes incredible effort. It requires leadership and trust. It requires commitment. And, it requires a compelling vision.
Vision is what creates engagement, buy-in, ownership, and results.
The vision of Heritage Prep is to think with excellence, believe with confidence, and live with character. We want to raise up young men and women who can wade into this cultural morass and not sink, but instead begin to create solid footing on which they will stand and make a difference. We are not building a wall to keep them in. We are building a wall so that we can send them out. Out into a community, city, nation and world that desperately needs a voice to stand in the city square and proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord.
And we need your help.
We need you to work on your section of the wall. Engage with your children and grandchildren. Teach them. Listen to them. Spend time with them. Pray for them. Join with us in this work of building a wall.
All of this is impossible without God’s direction and provision. And even with that, it will be difficult. The enemy will fight against us. And we, like the Israelites who built the wall, will need to have a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other, prepared to fight.
This is a good fight. Let’s fight it together. And let’s fight it well.
Let’s build a wall.
Matthew H. Skinner