A Lesson in a Dull Chapter

In Nehemiah 3, we have recorded for us a list of those who began work on repairing the walls of Jerusalem in around 444 BC. The chapter is 32 verses that basically tell who did the repairing and where they repaired. Sounds like dull stuff, and in fact it often is. But there are some things that jump out if we will take note.

For example, in verse 5, we see that a certain group of people worked on a section of the wall, but their nobles “would not stoop to serve their Lord.” Imagine that. In the first 4 verses, we see the priests working on the walls. We see folks from other cities coming to repair. But the nobles of this group were too good to do manual labor for the Lord.

In verse 8, we see two groups repairing the wall who were quite different. These who worked on the wall were, by trade, goldsmiths and perfumers. Thus, working stone was not their forte. However, they saw the work, it needed to be done, and so they jumped in.

In verse 9, we see a ruler of half the district of Jerusalem working on the wall. So, people with power still got into the act.

Similarly, verse 12 tells us, “Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters.” This is cool. A man who was important politically went to work. And his daughters joined him.

Verse 17 points out that Levites worked on repairing. Thus, the religious folks were part of the process. They did not wait for others to do the work while they watched.

In verse 23, we see men repairing wall near their own houses.

And as you look through the chapter, you will see places where people seem to have been included in working in other sections as well. So, people finished the work in one area, and then they jumped over to another place to keep it going.

What do we do with a chapter like this? We remember that the Lord uses his people, people of all social ranks and skill levels, to accomplish his task. None of us should ever think we are too good to serve the Lord in a simple way. All of us should be willing to see needs and meet needs when we see them. And we should expect that God does great work through his people all working together.

No, I don’t think we need to over-interpret the walls of Jerusalem. This was a city that God restored to his people and it needed defenses. Some people worked. Some people would not. That is just human behavior at is most normal. But the ones who honored the Lord got to work and saw the work finished. This is to the glory of God.

Where do you see a need for work in your church? I’m not here thinking about building maintenance, though that might be a need. Where do you see people in need of fellowship? Where do you see hurting people in need of comfort? Where do you see people with physical or financial needs? Where do you see people in need of someone to come alongside them and walk them out of a sin issue toward righteousness? Do you see a need for folks to care for children? Do you see a need for someone to disciple a student? Do you see a single person who needs help with basic life skills? Do you see a marriage that could use a mentoring couple? There is work to be done, and we need all hands on deck. May we all be a part of God building his church for his glory.