Build That Wall (It’s Not What You Think!)!
By: Carletta Traylor aka C.N.
What’s good, my people?!?! It seems like forever and a day ago that we last spoke! You all know how it is; life whooped my keister (a complete tushy THRASHING) like Ali whooped Foreman back in ’74 (Ok, ok, ok. Muhammad Ali didn’t exact “whoop” George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle,” but he still won the fight! Don’t go there with me! Jesus and I still love you. Haha). Despite such foolishness (what MALARKY!), I’m back (Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus! God is good!)! Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?
This past Monday, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday (happy belated MLK Day!). Dr. King lived a life dedicated to achieving racial justice (all people-whether black, white, blue, or purple-deserve to be treated equally, are entitled to the same rights, privileges and services, and should be viewed as sisters and brothers (anything you can do, I CAN’T do better, I CAN’T do anything better than you! No, you’re wrong! Yes, I’m right! No, you’re wrong! Yes, I’m right! No you’re wrong-YES, I’M RIGHT! YES, I’M RIGHTTTT! Sorry. Haha)).
We are all equal in God’s eyes-he created ALL of us in his image, and we’re ALL fearfully and wonderfully made by the hands of God (we’re all masterpieces, y’all! God doesn’t make trash! Alright, now! Haha).
God loved ALL of us so much that he sent his only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for our sins (bad things that we say, do, don’t do, and/or think, that God doesn’t like), that if we would repent of our sins (ask God to please forgive us of our sins and help us to stop sinning), believe in Jesus (believe that Jesus is God’s Son (God in the flesh), that he died on the Cross for our sins, that he rose from the dead on the third day with all power in his hands, that he ascended back into Heaven (he’s sitting at God the Father’s (God Almighty’s) right hand in Heaven as we speak), and that he’s coming back to take his children (all believers in him) home to Heaven and to judge/destroy this wicked world)), and follow him the rest of our lives, we would not perish (die in our sins and suffer eternal torment in Hell), but have everlasting life (we’ll be partying with Jesus in Heaven forever, y’all! Aye! Turn up! Ain’t no party like a Holy Ghost party, ‘cause a Holy Ghost party don’t stop! Party over here! Ooh-ooh! Party over here! Ooh-ooh! Haha).
God, through Jesus Christ, preached love, unity, and togetherness in him. We are ALL sinners in need of God’s grace (giving us good things-rewards-that we don’t deserve) and mercy (not giving us the bad things-punishments-that we do deserve); we ALL need Jesus to clean our trifling behinds up and help us to act like we have some GOSH DARN home training! Haha. God, through Jesus Christ, loves all of us equally and wants us to love and treat each other equally; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. loved everyone equally and wanted all of us to love and treat each other equally (and by non-violent means; put the inflatable lawn darts down! Haha). In light of God’s Word (the Holy Bible, baby!), MLK Day and current events (you all know EXACTLY what I’m talking about! Don’t play! I’ll just leave it at that and move on. Haha), it’s CRUCIAL that we love, serve, and support one another (let the church say, “Amen!”). This brings us to today’s story: the Israelites rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
In the 3rd Chapter of Nehemiah (in the Holy Bible), here’s the skinny (that’s slang for “here’s what’s going on”). From 589 BC to 587 BC (“BC” stands for “before Christ;” this took place 587 years before Jesus’s earthly birth), the Babylonians, under King Nebuchadnezzar (that clown of a king! Move it along, dipstick! If you’d all like more information as to why I think King Nebu is a Satan and lava-loving loser, please refer to my previous posts, Nebuchadnezzar Fears Statues! and Nebuchadnezzar: The Wacky Wildebeest!), have broken through Jerusalem’s walls and have conquered the city (how dare they destroy the walls and not fix them! In the words of Stephanie Tanner from Full House, “how rude!” Haha).
The Babylonian Empire has been overthrown by the Medo-Persian Empire (bye-bye, Babylon! FUN FACT: The last king of Babylon was…get this…King Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar! Believe it or not, Belty was even MORE of a flying piece of monkey trash than his grandfather was! I’m not kidding! ->Belshazzar: The Writing’s On The Wall!), the Israelites (God’s homies!) have returned home to Israel (after being held captive in Babylon for 70 years) and they are now in the process of rebuilding their beloved city (Jerusalem is the capital of Israel). The Israelites have rebuilt the Temple (the center of religious life in Jerusalem; the Temple was a holy place to praise and worship God Almighty), but more than 50 years after the Temple has been rebuilt, Jerusalem’s walls are still in shambles (in the words of WWF/WWE’s The Hurricane, “what’s up with that?!?!?!”).
Nehemiah, a high ranking Jewish official in the Persian court, is saddened that Jerusalem’s walls are still in ruins (my walls! My beautiful walls!!!!). As such, Nehemiah sits down, weeps (cries), begins to fast (no food or Juicy Juice for him!) and he prays to God about the situation (thata’ boy, Nehemiah! You know that God will provide your every need! You, Sir, are smarter than a 5th grader and the average bear!). God answers Nehemiah’s prayer, and the Israelites work together to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls (Bob the Builder! Can we fix it?!?! Bob the Builder! Yes we can!!! I love it! Haha). What do you all say we take a look at who all contributed to Jerusalem’s rebuild?! Are you ready?! Get ready! I’m ready! Let’s do this thing (for the love of God, Carletta, lay off of the sugar! You’ll scare the children! Haha)!
The 3rd Chapter of Nehemiah tells us exactly who all contributed to the rebuild of Jerusalem’s walls:
–Eliashib, the High Priest, and his fellow priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate. The priests were considered to be the main religious leaders of the day (they would give God Almighty gifts (who wants presents?!?!?!) and offer sacrifices (i.e. give God something of value that they loved and cherished, usually in the form of a dead animal. No worries, though! God no longer requires us to sacrifice animals to please him! Fluffy is safe!) to him in the hopes that God would forgive them and the people of their sins. The High Priest of Israel was the only person who could enter the Holy of Holies (a special room in the Temple or Tabernacle) once a year to ask God to please forgive the Israelites of their sins (please forgive us for being filthy, fungus-infested toe rags, Lord!). Get this: the High Priest had a rope tied around his waist or ankle (that his boys held on to) so that if he got sick, fell out, or died while in the Temple, his buddies could pull him out; they couldn’t go in and get him out (only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies), but had to pull him out by the rope! Talk about a riveting game of tug-of-war! Haha.
NOTE: We no longer need a priest, gifts or animal sacrifices to be forgiven of our sins and to be in God’s good graces. We can talk to God directly (through prayer and reading the Bible, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ), and as long as we 1) repent of our sins, 2) believe in Jesus Christ (and ask Jesus into our lives as our Lord and Savior), and 3) follow Jesus the rest of our lives (put God first in our lives), God will forgive us of our sins, we’ll be in God’s good graces, and we’ll party with Jesus in Heaven forever, y’all (YASSSSS!!!!!)!
Eliashib and his fellow priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate, where sheep were normally washed and taken into the Temple to be sacrificed to God. Eliashib and his boys also rebuilt the doors to the Gate, built a hundred cubits (150 feet) of the wall, and sanctified them (i.e. they performed a special ceremony in which they declared that the Gate was clean, pure, holy, and acceptable to God).
-The wall was divided into portions, a part of which was assigned to each of the great families they had returned from Babylonian captivity (it ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none! I know that my sentence isn’t grammatically correct! I know proper English! I purposely went urban slang, hooked on Ebonics (not Phonics. Haha) on y’all for the purpose of the joke! Don’t go there with me! Haha jkjkjk I love you. Haha). While I will not list the names of every person and family who helped to rebuild the wall (we’d be here until next Spring. Haha), I will give a general overview of who all did what (well that’s just great, Carletta! Lord knows we couldn’t wait to hear you RAMBLE on for the next 10 minutes! Haha).
-The Men of Jericho (break the walls down! Break down the walls! Wait, no! We’re re-building the walls! Sorry. Wrestling reference. Haha), Zaccur (the son of a man named Imri), and the sons of Hassenaah helped to rebuild the wall as well. Hassenaah’s sons rebuilt the Fish Gate (the gate was located near the city’s fish market, hence, its’ name! Who wants fish sticks for dinner?! Haha), including the beams, the doors, the locks and the bars (that’s right, fellas! Make that gate nice and secure! I wish those BUSTERS would try to break in! If they do, they’ll get a kick in the behind! I’ll put my foot so far up their backsides, they’ll be throwing up my toenail polish as blood! Please forgive me, Lord. Please take the wheel, Jesus! Y’all know that I need help. Haha. Say “no” to violence, kids! Jesus loves you! Haha).
-The sons and daughters of the great families (yes, the women helped as well! Girl power! I feel a Cyndi Lauper verse coming on! Sing it with me now! Oh, girlllllls, girls just wanna have funnnnnn! Haha) did their part to help rebuild the wall (building the broad wall/double wall-which extended from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, 400 cubits (600 feet) long-, rebuilding the Old Gate and its’ parts (the beams, the doors, the locks and the bars), providing the money to fund the rebuild (the ladies came from wealthy (rich!) families and helped to pay the cost of the rebuild. Rebuilding a city is expensive! Haha), etc.).
-Not only did the priests and great families help to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, but the common folk (people like you and I! Our folk! Our kin! Our peeps! Our home skillet biscuits with butter and jelly on top! Our-sorry. Haha) helped as well! You didn’t have to be a High Priest or religious leader to understand the importance of rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall-the worshippers of the ONE AND ONLY true God (the God of Israel, who sent his son, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for our sins) needed a quiet and safe place to praise him. The Israelites should not be afraid to worship God for fear of being attacked (I’ll run the attackers over with my car! Doh! There I go again! Stifle yourself, Carletta! Haha); the Israelites should not feel distracted while praising God because they’re out in the open with the polka band, the cattle (STANKY!) and these hardheaded kids (if I tell you little RUGRATS (and I don’t mean Tommy Pickles!) to get out of my yard one more time!!!!!).
The common folk wanted to do their part to help make Jerusalem beautiful again, and with their help, Jerusalem blossomed like a rose in the springtime (YAYYYYYYYYY! Pop the cider and Sunny D! Hip-hip, hooray! Hip-hip, hooray! Yippeeee!)!
I’d like to make an important point here. The rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall was a joint effort-the wall could not have been rebuilt unless ALL of the Israelites worked together to rebuild it. People from all races, backgrounds, and walks of life helped to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall-from priests to Levites to common folk. Please notice that the Israelites didn’t consider themselves to be better than (superior to) or less than (inferior to) anyone else here (not amongst themselves or in relation to people from other nations). All of the Israelites were treated equally in this endeavor-everyone, regardless of race or position, helped to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, had an important role to play in the rebuild, and took their roles very seriously (including Nehemiah, who both supervised the effort and helped in the rebuilding process itself!). All of the Israelites were on the same page, were working toward the same goal, and wanted to achieve the same result-to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall and give the Israelites a safe and quiet place to worship God.
Given that everyone wanted better for the country of Israel as a whole, they worked in tandem (together), each person doing his or her part, and they successfully restored the wall of Jerusalem (Hallelujah! Sweet victory!)! When we learn to love, serve, and treat one another equally, despite our differences, not only can we achieve great things on this earth (such as rebuilding walls, racial harmony and world peace), but we’ll also please God, through Jesus Christ, in that we’re loving and serving one another as he loves and serves us. Let’s put our racial, political and other differences aside; let’s love one another, serve one another, support one another, encourage one another, and pray for one another. When we do this, we’ll see God’s glory fulfilled in our lives, we’ll be much happier, and this world will be a much better place.
I always like to end my posts by explaining how we all can be saved (party with Jesus in Heaven forever, y’all!). Becoming saved is as simple as ABC:
· Admit that we’re sinners, and ask God to please forgive us of our sins (bad things that we say, do, don’t do, and/or think, that God doesn’t like) and help us to stop sinning (Please clean me up, Lord! I’m hot garbage, dipped in excrement, sprinkled in chitling grease on the inside (just STANKY!)!).
· Believe that Jesus Christ is God’s son, that he died on the Cross for our sins, that he rose from the dead (3 days later) with all power in his hands, that’s he’s back in Heaven with God Almighty right now, and that he’s coming back to get his children (take all believers home with him to Heaven) and to judge/destroy this wicked world.
· Commit ourselves to following Jesus Christ (listen to him and live for/like him forevermore).
Let’s love one another and live “La Vida Loca” forever (I see you, Ricky Martin! Would you PLEASE stop wearing those ridiculously tight pants?!?!?! That’s NOT cute! Haha)!
Given the nature of today’s story, I will not do a modern-day remix of it. No worries, though! The modern-day remixes shall return tomorrow (yeah, buddy!), and I have included a wonderful video from The Holy Tales: Bible, which explains the Jerusalem rebuild story beautifully. I hope that you all enjoy the video!
The Holy Tales: Bible-Nehemiah Rebuilds Jerusalem (YouTube):
With that being said, I love you all, God bless you all, and I’ll see you all on the next one!