Growing up as a young boy I lived on the east side of Detroit which was on East Warren and Bewick Street. As you walked down the beginning of my street, to the right side of the block you would see a sign which told a person our block was patrolled by a neighborhood watch group. A neighborhood watch was a group of men who came together on behalf of the neighborhood to monitor and take care of their community. These men were ordinary people who had regular jobs during the day but in the evening they would patrol the local streets until everyone when into their homes at night. Back then there was no such thing as people hanging out late at night because when the street lights came on all the kids and parents made their way into the house. You would sometimes see the men riding around in their vehicles, helping to prevent fights among the kids, or contacting the local police when someone was in of life-threatening situation. The men who were a part of the neighborhood watch were not a part of law enforcement but they believed that their presence represented to potential evil-doers that no type of crime, drugs or the burglary of homes would be permitted in their community.
However, over time these men began to become less visible and their presence was less evident on the local streets. The spread of drugs like marijuana, heroin and crack cocaine became destructive forces in the lives of people and the neighborhood. During the night before Halloween which was referred to as devil night in October, a group of people would come around setting fire to other people’s properties all for the purpose of their demonic enjoyment.
Back in 1984 several houses, abandoned buildings and garaged dumpsters filled with garage were set on fire and when up in flames and burned totally to the ground. One person described the Halloween of 1984 as a year as an orgy of arson for 72 hours. Over 800 fires were set and the smoke from the fires hovered over the six largest cities back at that time for days. The men who were once a part of these neighborhood watch groups were now gone and the gates of our communities were left unattended. Now just as this happened on my local block and in my city, there are three types of gates that we as men have left unattended today. The first type of gates that we have left unattended are the gates of our communities. The second type of gates that we have left unattended are the gates of our families. Finally, the third type of gates that have been left unattended are the gates in a man’s life.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land (Proverbs 31:23).
The unattended gates of our communities
The first type of gates that we have left unattended as men are the gates of our communities. In Proverbs 31:23 a virtuous woman’s husband was “known in the gates and also among the elders in the land”. Why was the husband known in the gates and among the elders in the land? Also, what were some of the things that happened at the gates when these men were present? The reason why the husband was known in the gates was not that he was part of the good old boy’s network. However, I believe there were two reasons why the husband of the virtuous woman was known in the gates. One he was a man of godly character and he had the love and respect of his family based upon how he treated them. He was also one of the men there at the gate which was the place of protection to keep God’s people safe. If the enemies of Israel tried to breach the city where God’s people where at, the gates kept the city protected (Deuteronomy 3:5-6). Finally, when an act of evil was committed by someone, it was handled at the gate of the city were the appointed judges would determine if that person should be put to death (Deuteronomy 17:1-8).
Our gates no longer have men of character standing to make sure that enemy cannot breach our communities like the men who were a part of my neighborhood watch group. There is a void of leadership and the elders of the land have been replaced with politicians who care more about their interest than the interest of those who elected them. The gates of our communities have been left unattended by respectable and godly men and now the flood of illegal weapons have hit our streets. The gates of our communities are left unattended which have allowed sexual predators to roam around our neighborhood as a threat to our children. The gates of our communities have been left unattended which have allowed gangs to make our streets unsafe for our young people to travel from their schools back to their homes. The Lord is calling for us as men to stop the enemy at the gates of our communities. The territorial spirits that have built up strongholds in our streets must be brought down by the power of God’s word and the name of Jesus. The word of God has promised us that through the prophetic promise to Rebekah that her children “will possess the gate of those that hate them” (Genesis 24:60).
The unattended gates of our families
The second type of gates that we as men have left unattended are the gates of our families. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we learn that within the gates of the Jewish family structure that the children of Israel acknowledged and taught their families that “the Lord our God is one”. They also taught their families the importance on why they were commanded to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and your strength”. In the Hebrew home, a father kept the gates of his family attended by teaching God’s word diligently to his children as he sat with them, writing it on the doorpost and at the gates of his home. However, in today’s times, we have allowed ungodly men to convince our nation to remove prayer from school and the ten commandments from our courtrooms. As a nation, we sing in God’s we trust but at the same time, we seek to pass laws that would forbid people their religious freedom to declare in God’s we trust through our national anthem. The priest of the home is no longer present to teach God’s commandments to his children and the gates of his family are left unattended.
The gates of the family have been left unattended because our young boys do not have respect for police authority and lack the knowledge on how to properly de-escalate a situation. When they are pulled over by the police, instead of listening to the instructions of the officer who is speaking to them they fail to be cooperative causing a minor situation to become a major news story on our news channels. Our daughters leave their homes not dressed appropriately wanting to were the latest fashion causing them to look sexy but at the same time having no respect or class for themselves. Immature boys and midlife crisis men look at our daughters with lustful eyes as the next sex trophy that they can have in bed. However, it is time for us as men to become tired of seeing our families in this condition, the walls are broken down and our gates burned by fire (Nehemiah 1:1-4). Inside the gates of the family is where we as men must teach our sons how to honor their parents. Inside the gates of the family, we as men must teach our sons how to have respect for authority. Inside the gates of the family that we as fathers must become the example to our daughters on how a man is supposed to treat a woman. Inside the gates of the family is where we as fathers demonstrate to our daughters that a man must always keep his word and honor his commitments who depend upon him.
The unattended gates of a man’s life
Finally, the third type of gates that have been left unattended are the gates in a man’s life. The two gates in a man’s life are his eyes and his ears. A man’s ears are the gates in which the voices he hears can influence him in a positive or negative way. In Mark 4:24 Jesus said to His disciples “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given”. The question that I must ask you my brother is who lap are you laying your head down upon. Are you laying your head in the lap of the virtuous woman that God has given you or are you laying your head in the lap of Delilah? When you lay your head in the lap of Delilah it will cause hear her words of accusation that will cause you to lose your strength, lose your freedom and to lose your vision. The lap of Delilah that you lay your head upon rather female, drugs, or some other vice will cause you to leave your gate unattended (Judges 16:15-19). However, the Lord is calling you brother not to lay your head in the lap of Delilah but lay your head in the lap with the woman God has given as your wife. To lay your head in the lap of the woman you are in covenant with, the word of God says your heart will safely trust in her and have no loss (Proverbs 31:11).
The second type of gates in a man’s life is his eyes. The eyes of a man represent being the windows of his soul. In Psalms 101:3, the Psalmist declared that “I will set no wicked thing before mine eye”. According to the dictionary.com, the word wicked means “evil or morally bad in principle or sinful”. A man who sets a wicked thing before him will allow that thing damage him emotionally and cause his soul to be filled with all types of ungodly desires. A man who puts a wicked thing before him will not submit to the will of God but live by his own broken will. When a man put his eyes on a wicked thing, it will cause him to not allow God to have His rightful place in our life. However, now is the hour and now is the time that God wants to restore you my brother by his grace and mercy. The gates of our eyes must be lifted up to Him because He is our help and our keep. The things that are troubling you in your heart and soul my brother, the Lord wants to bring a wonderful change of you that will tell others that it is well with my soul. In Psalms 24:9-10, the word of God says “Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come it. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory”.