Nehemiah is faced with a monumental task of rebuilding the walls but as a good leader he inspires people to the task and trusts in God. His words at the end of chapter 2 – “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build,”- are both obedient to God’s Word and inspiring to the people.
With such a large project this passage shows the importance of teamwork in any work of God. Time after time we read that named people worked in rebuilding the wall opposite their own house. Think for a moment where you are living, who are you expecting to rebuild God’s kingdom where you are? It is you, not some outside evangelist or church leader but you are the witness where you live. We see in v 5 that some would not stoop to serve their Lord. Nehemiah was the servant of God and these people were obviously not whole hearted in serving God. In Matthew Ch. 7 Jesus says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ It is not about our pride or ego but obedience to the direction of God. At the moment I am reading R.T. Kendall’s book – For an Audience of One, Seek the Praise that comes from God alone, and find it challenging regarding how we serve God with the right heart and mind-set.
2. Gates and towers.
Rebuilding walls on their own would not be helpful, the towers interlock the walls into a defensive structure and often contain the gates. Again in Matthew Ch. 7 v 13 – 14, Jesus said “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Gateways were the means to controlling access to the city and Jesus tells us to control what we allow access into our lives. Likewise Proverbs 18 v 10 says ‘The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.’ We are made righteous when we allow Jesus into our lives; he is the strong tower we put our trust in. Anything else will bring us to ruin.
When you look at any map of Jerusalem in this time period you will notice that the city rebuilt was the eastern part, the old city of David and the western part; its walls, gates and housing was still in ruins. Nehemiah’s rebuilding was in the time period 444-420 B.C. and the western part was not rebuilt until the mid-second century B.C. So these ruins of the past would have been daily visible to the people on the rebuilt walls. How we handle our past ruins, our mistakes, will determine our going forward. 2 Corinthians Ch. 5 v 17 – 18 reads – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
Be thankful and praise God for his restoring work through Jesus’ sacrifice and follow him wholeheartedly.