Bible Survey on Nehemiah – Lesson 3

Rom_15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Last time we saw how Nehemiah responded to verbal attacks.

Neh 2:20  Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem. 

Sanballat and Tobiah attack with scorn, mocking, despising, and lies.  Nehemiah handles it with faith.  He says the God of heaven, he will prosper us;  And he does not let the attacks deter him from doing what he knows God wants done.  And he does not respond in like manner.  He refuses to descend to their level.

We also saw Nehemiah lead the right way.  And we saw the people respond.  The people said let us rise up and build.

And almost everyone got involved.

Neh 3:1  Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. 

I like this.  The men of God got busy and did the same work as everyone else.  They did not say that our job is to only sanctify what is built.  They got their hands dirty as well.  The priests built the sheep gate and they put the doors on it. That means they would have had to clear the debris and lift stones and use mortar and so on.  They did not consider themselves above the problem or above the work.

I like the fact that they are mentioned first in this long list of builders.  The priests were supposed to be the leaders.  And thru much of their history they did not lead the right way.  These men were not like Eli or his sons.  Here we see them leading by example.  I think the Lord had them mentioned first because they were leading by example and God was pleased with it.

You will see in a few verses that this work is called the work of the Lord.  And should not the men of God be the first ones jumping in and doing the work of the Lord.

Neh 3:2  And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri. 

Neh 3:3  But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 

Neh 3:4  And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana. 

Each family group accepted an area to work on.  You do not see them taking on the whole project themselves.  They found their place to work, and accepted the responsibility for that area and got busy and worked.  This all was done decently and in order.  And what one family could never have accomplished alone, all the families together did.  They did it by each one finding their place to work and doing their work within their area of responsibility.

This idea still holds true today.  A group of people who work together for a common goal can accomplish a whole lot more together than by themselves.  One of the reasons that is true is that when you see that you are not in it alone, that brings encouragement.  When you see people next to you working hard towards the same goal, that brings hope and energy.  It brings excitement.

It transforms the attitude.  Almost everything in your life is affected by your attitude.  It really is.  And when you see others that care about what I care about and are busting their butts to achieve the same goal I am.  We are in this together.  When you see that, it can have a real positive impact on your attitude.  And as a result people work harder and get more done.

There is something special about working toward a common goal.  But not everyone will take the journey.

Neh 3:5  And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord. 

The common people in this family worked, but not the nobles.  And God noticed and had it recorded for all the ages.  The elite, I am above doing that, attitude that they had is recorded to their shame.

And notice whose work it is that they refused to do.  but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord.  They were refusing to work for their Lord.  They put their pride and vanity above God.  What they wanted they put above what God wanted.

No doubt they wanted the benefits that would come with the walls repaired but they did not want a part in doing it themselves.  The work is good for you to do, but not for me.  Does the word Hypocrite come to mind?

And remember the two great commandments.  Love God and love your neighbor.  Biblical love is a love that does.  For God so loved the world that He gave.  And Jesus said if you love me obey my commandments.  Biblical love does.  It works.

When the nobles of this family refused to get involved they were really sinning against God and against their neighbor.

In the following verse is a long list of those who did right and did the work of the lord.  And it was hard work.

Neh 3:6  …they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 

God does ask his children to work.

And sometimes the work is difficult or tiring or hard. You will never in the Scriptures see God apologize for asking His children to work.  For one He is worthy.  And two His work is good for us and it is what is best for others as well.

And the people who worked came from all walks of life and profession.  These people were not in the construction industry.  They were not architects or engineers.  In verse 8 Uzziel is a goldsmith and Hananiah was the son of one of the apothecaries.

Neh 3:8  Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall. 

In verse 9 a man who was the ruler of half of Jerusalem was out there working.

Neh 3:9  And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem. 

If this man ruled half of Jerusalem then someone else ruled the other half.  And that person is also out working.

Neh 3:12  And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters. 

The two rulers of Jerusalem were working side by side.  It is odd that a small city would have two rulers.  The town cut in half.  This seems to imply that they had some differences.  One would not step aside and let the other rule.  Jerusalem was not that big that it required two rulers.  And Jerusalem at this time was very scarcely populated and had very little commerce.  It is a little odd to me that it had two rulers.

We have been told in verse 5 that this was actually the work of the Lord.  So these two rulers put aside whatever differences they had and worked side by side in the work of the Lord.

This is another great example for us today.

The work of the Lord needs to be a priority and it needs to be put above differences of opinion.

Another great thing about verse 12 is you see Shallum and his daughters out working to repair the wall.  His daughters were not above getting their hands dirty and working to repair the wall.  The group in verse 13 repairs a lot. They rebuilt the valley gate and 1,000 cubits of wall.

In verse 14 a ruler of another town a few miles from Jerusalem worked on the repairs.

Neh 3:14  But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 

This man traveled to come and be a blessing and do the work of the Lord.  And he was not the only one.

Neh 3:15  But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king’s garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David. 

The Nehemiah mentioned in verse 16 is a different Nehemiah.  He is the ruler of the half part of Bethzur.  This is a town even further away from Jerusalem.

Neh 3:16  After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, unto the place over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty. 

Verses 17 thru 19 several groups are mentioned and their work.  Included is the rulers of Keilah, which is a town in the lowlands of Judah.  And also mentioned is the ruler of Mizpah who came to work.  Mizpah is in the land of Benjamin.

Ruler after ruler is mentioned coming and getting involved and getting their hands dirty.  What a huge contrast to those nobles of that one family who would not put their hands to the work of the Lord.

In verse 20 Zabbai and the fact that he earnestly repaired is mentioned.  I like that.  This man was not lukewarm and God noticed and had it recorded in His Word.

Neh 3:22  And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain. 

From verse 23 thru verse 32 the list just keeps going.  Men from all walks of life.  From men of the plains to priests, and from a keeper of the gate to goldsmiths to merchants.

The main thrust of chapter 3 is people coming and working together to do the work of the Lord.

And the implication is that there is a place for everyone to work.  Everyone can be involved.  They did not turn away anyone who came from other towns to help in the work of the Lord.  Anyone from any occupation could help in the work.

Nehemiah was used by God to receive mercy from the king, to arrange building materials and to share his faith that God was with him, and to enter into the problem with them.  Nehemiah really truly cared and the people responded to that.

And the people said let us rise up and build.

Neh 4:6  So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. 

By chapter 4 the wall is joined together but not to its full height and the doors to the main gates are not yet done.  But they have come a long way in a short time.  And it is because people came together and worked in the work of the Lord.  People from different places and different jobs and different backgrounds all sacrificed and worked and sweated.

All except the nobles of that one family.  No matter the need.  And the need was great the people in Jerusalem were suffering because they had no protection.  No matter the need there will always be those who will not care enough to work.  And will put their selfishness and their pride above the work of the Lord and above the needs of others.

The nobles from that one family not working was noticeable.  It is hard to imagine.  I mean everyone else is working.  Even many rulers.  Men of power from other cities are working.  And those nobles could look out and see it all happening.  They could see others coming and being a blessing.  They could sense the excitement as things were getting done.  And they just closed their hearts to it all and said no.

There will always be people like that.  The good example from this section of Nehemiah is the people who were doing the work did not let the bad attitude of the nobles stop them from doing the work of the Lord.

They kept their eyes on the Lord and on His work.  There was only one mention of those nobles.  They were mentioned once for our learning and the fact that they are not mentioned again is also for our learning.

Don’t focus on those who don’t want to do the work of the Lord.

Instead focus on what the Lord wants done.

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