Nehemiah, the courageous governor that the Lord had used to lead His people at this important time in their history, had completed a monumental project. The wall was finished and the gates were in place. Yet Nehemiah’s work was not over. Only the obedience of other officials and many servants of the Lord could insure that this important achievement would be used for the purposes of God. The governor needed to have people in the chain of command that he could trust. His standards were high. He said of at least one man whom he placed in an important role, “he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many.”
The right people needed to have a good plan in order for Jerusalem to be secure. The governor directed them concerning the times when the doors would be opened and the necessity of maintaining an effective system of guarding access to the city until the doors were barred shut at the end of the day. The entire perimeter of the wall required people who would be committed to protecting God’s children from those who sought their destruction. Sloppy procedures could not be tolerated.
The right kind of faithful and God-fearing people were very important to the success of Nehemiah’s plans. With that in mind the Lord put it upon the governor’s heart to record for posterity the names of those who had led the children of God back into the land over the preceding decades. The information here was not new. We already encountered most of it in Ezra 2. What is new is the context. These names remind us that God was using specific people to reestablish the city of Jerusalem. They and their descendants would have to do their part in order to continue the good work that had been accomplished. It was time now for houses to be rebuilt that needed repairs. The heart of Jerusalem needed to be a place where people could live in peace. The city of God needed to be great once again, and that would require wisdom, strength, and faithfulness.
The people would have to be willing to give funds in order for the city to thrive. They gave their gold coins and other valuable possessions as an expression of their dedication to the Lord’s purposes. Nehemiah led the way.
We sometimes imagine that our work is done when it is only entering a new phase. The completion of one crucial task only opens up new possibilities for those who will serve the Lord. Our King began the work of building a resurrection world. On the cross He said, “It is finished.” Yet He did not mean that He had nothing left to do to build the city of God. Even now He is watching over an unparalleled work involving many people. He appoints leaders to teach the Word and to lead others in works of mercy. The gospel of His death and resurrection had to be proclaimed and obeyed among all the people groups of the world. This would take many years. He is still leading all of these efforts down to the present moment. He is perfectly steadfast in His mission. He calls on us to do the tasks that He has prepared for us to accomplish. He gives us gifts of people and the blessing of wise and biblical directives. Our Lord is great. The city that He is building will be glorious.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord of Hosts, there is a day of celebration coming. While we wait for that greatest of all Sabbaths, there is yet work to be done. Put it within the hearts of Your people to consider seriously and deeply that our names are recorded in the Book of Life. When our callings require steadfast perseverance, help us to remember that You have chosen us from before the foundation of the world. Bring about a most glorious celebration at just the right time. Send forth Your Son, together with the holy angels and all who rest in Christ above. May our King separate the righteous from the wicked in perfect wisdom, that we might live in Your grace and rejoice in Your mercy forever. We have a godly heritage in this Son of David. In Him we can prove that we are rightly in the land of promise, for He is Your eternal Son. He has given Himself for our salvation. Gather together the whole assembly of Your people that we might rejoice in Your presence forever. Even now we give You gifts out of the blessings that You have kindly bestowed upon us. May we dwell peacefully and joyfully in Your land forever.