"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Tuesday, May 9, 2023


In this study when we came to the actual building of the walls of Jerusalem started (preceded by prolonged and pertinent prayer by Nehemiah, as anyone’s ministry should be!), we have noticed the incredible significance behind the names of the people and places involved in this enterprise.

It shows that even in the smallest details, the Word of GOD is magnificent in the truths recorded, the gems hidden underneath, and the spiritual lessons they teach us!

As previously stated, the first few chapters in this book is all about the rebuilding of the ruins of Jerusalem and we’ve seen how by the grace of GOD there was triumph by transformation in the holy City of Peace. The rest of this book is about the transformation of the people of Israel. The former took just over 50 days – remarkable! The latter will take the remainder of the book!

I’m going to refrain from digging into any more of these things in the hopes that those who’ve read what I’ve uncovered (which anyone can uncover with a simple concordance and the time required to investigate; for a quick tutorial on how to use a concordance, check this out [12 mins 18 sec]) will get excited enough to research them, and uncover the gems hidden for themselves! There are lots more to be found here! Lessons learned and truth discovered are always remembered best when one is doing the learning for themselves rather than learning from another.

We’ll wrap up this investigation into Nehemiah’s building project by the end of this chapter and this study before proceeding to Chapter Four and the adversarial challenges that Nehemiah and crew encounter and relate them to the spiritual implications for the church.

NEHEMIAH 3:11-14
11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hashub the son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section, as well as the Tower of the Ovens. 12 And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs. 13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Refuse Gate. 14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem, repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars

From this point forward, the work progressed more rapidly. Up until this point they had finished the work starting from the Tower of Meah to the Corner Gate (the district of Mishneh; and previously a portion of the wall that related to the Temple district (refer to the map of Jerusalem below - click on the image for a larger view)) - less than 25% of the entire circumference of the walls. By the end of verse 14 in this chapter, they completed the work from the Corner Gate all the way down the western wall and across the entire length of the southern wall, up to the Refuse Gate, hence completing 75% of the work! This included the majority of the Southwest district!  

I find it sadly amusing that while the nobles of Tekoa would not participate in any of the work; they felt no doubt that this work was beneath them. Yet when one considers this: what greater work could there possibly be than to contribute to the labors in honor of the Messiah-King of Israel?! At the same time we see these daughters of Shallum who “made repairs” alongside their father! This reminds me of “Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord” with Paul (ROM 16:12): their names mean “luxury and luxurious” or could be rendered as “delicate and dainty”. The word “labor” means “exhausting”.
I wonder if Paul smiled to himself as he wrote these words, thinking about sisters Delicate and Dainty “getting their hands dirty” as it were in the work of the LORD.

Never discount the sister saints who labor for Jesus – by the power of the Spirit and their tireless devotion to the LORD, they are a power house!

NEHEMIAH 3:15-18
15 Shallun the son of Col-Hozeh, leader of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; he built it, covered it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired the wall of the Pool of Shelah by the King's Garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David. 16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beth Zur, made repairs as far as the place in front of the tombs of David, to the man-made pool, and as far as the House of the Mighty. 17 After him the Levites, under Rehum the son of Bani, made repairs. Next to him Hashabiah, leader of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district. 18 After him their brethren, under Bavai the son of Henadad, leader of the other half of the district of Keilah, made repairs

Special emphasis was made in the repairs of this area, for this was the area surrounding and including the Fountain Gate, the Old City of David, which included the King’s sepulcher as well as the aqueduct of Hezekiah that connected to the upper and lower pools of Siloam and the king (respectively). These were Israel’s greatest kings, particularly David (and king Josiah who was acknowledged as the best king after David. The House of the Mighty was repaired and finally the two halves of the district of Keilah.

The House of the Mighty was in all likelihood a small castle that King David had built in honor of his mighty warriors – the strongest band of soldiers who were wholly devoted to their King.

Three of these mighty men expressed that devotion when they overheard the King talking out loud, wishing he could drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, while he and his men were in the battlefield against the Philistines who, at that time, held the land that surrounded Bethlehem.

But these mighty men didn’t let that stop them: they secretly ventured to Bethlehem, broke through the camp of the Philistines, procured the water and brought it back to their King, who refused to drink it.
Instead, he poured it out to the LORD.

One might suppose that his fighting men took offense at that. They risked their lives to get him that water, and he dumps it out on the ground??
Rather, the reverse was true: King David so loved and honored his men, that since they risked their lives in getting him this water, David could think of no greater sacrifice to render to the LORD, so dear did he hold the lives of his men! So he declared:

“And he said, ‘Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?’ Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.” (2 SAM 23:17).
Just as David fought valiantly for his people with sword, Nehemiah is seen here fighting for his people with stone and mortar (and soon with swords as well!).

NEHEMIAH 3:19-22
19 And next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the leader of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the Ascent to the Armory at the buttress. 20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai carefully repaired the other section, from the buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, repaired another section, from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 And after him the priests, the men of the plain, made repairs

As you can see (looking at the map) that now that much of the wall has been restored, attention towards the interior has increased as repairs to the various sections, gates and doors continues.

The LORD is not interested in externals in our lives only, but with those internal matters that are unseen by all except for the LORD (JER 17:10). We know that whatever proceeds out of our mouths comes from the heart (MATT 15:19), and so one method of measuring ourselves (our true selves) is by our words (MATT 12:37). For the saint, whose hearts are indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit, we need to be mindful of our minds (which are in process of being redeemed via sanctification; ROM 12:1-2) and how our words proceed from them.

We sometimes say things we ought not, and perhaps afterwards, upon reflection, realize that they issued from the old man, not the new, from the sin nature rather than from the divine nature of Christ within us. This is something that the elder James addresses:
JAMES 3:10-12
10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh
Those who profess to know Christ and have all their externals looking good, but their internals are absent of any true transformation by the grace of GOD are merely religious, not righteous in Christ. GOD calls us to holiness in a practical sense, just as He bestows the holiness and righteousness of Christ upon us in our position as born again adopted children of the LORD.

Check out the two part article: SHOWCASE SALVATION: Part ONE and Part TWO. Or simply read JAMES 2 and 1 JOHN 2 for yourselves: very convicting!

Also worthy of note: Ezra was intent upon the restoration of the temple, whereas Nehemiah was about the restoration of the city and its surrounding wall which began only after Ezra’s work commenced.

GOD begins His work in us in our hearts, just as the Temple is the heart of Jerusalem (Jerusalem being the heart of Israel and – from GOD’s perspective – Israel being the heart of the world). This also demonstrates that GOD is not about externals only – the only ones who favor externals despite godly motivation are the spiritually dead religious groups whose efforts are fueled by the desire to prove themselves righteous in their own sight and thereby secure their sense of pride (MATT 16:6,11-12; 1 COR 8:1; 1 TIM 3:6).

NEHEMIAH 3:23-25
23 After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs by his house. 24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress, even as far as the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the buttress, and on the tower which projects from the king's upper house that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh made repairs

Here we have more examples of workers making repairs “opposite their house” and “[making] repairs by his house”. In our lives, we do well to attend to those matters “close at home” and in fact within the home before we venture out into ministry outside of the house.
This is why the criteria for eldership involves the home life to a great degree:
1 TIMOTHY 3:1-5
1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)
It’s not by accident that the Dung Gate is near to the Fountain and the Water Gates; defilement requires purging in both the physical and the spiritual. We are washed in a judicial manner by the blood of the LAMB (REV 1:5; 7:14). We are also washed in the practical sense through the Word of GOD as we traverse this world of sin and get our spiritual feet dirty (JOHN 15:3; EPH 5:26).

NEHEMIAH 3:26-27
26 Moreover the Nethinim who dwelt in Ophel made repairs as far as the place in front of the Water Gate toward the east, and on the projecting tower. 27 After them the Tekoites repaired another section, next to the great projecting tower, and as far as the wall of Ophel.

The Nethinim were temple servants; that’s how this group was mentioned in modern translations. They were likely Midianites (NUM 31:30) and this group was supplemented later by the Gibeonites (JOSH 9:26-27) to serve the LORD’s people by doing such menial labor such as cutting wood, carrying water and to provide whatever the Levite priests needed. They are seen here working alongside the Jews in restoring Jerusalem.

The Nethinim make great progress as they worked alongside the Tekoites in repairing the Water Gate and the projecting towers (small and great) all the way to the wall of Ophel which is just before the Horse Gate. At this point the work is nearing 85% completion with only the Horse Gate, Corner Chamber, and the Miphkad Gate to be completed (and the small section of wall that connects that Gate with where the work began, at the Sheep Gate.

And all of this was completed in just 52 days! Absolutely incredible, and a testament to Nehemiah’s leadership and efficiency, but to greater glory to the GOD Who bestowed those things as gifts upon His servant!

No doubt, the enemies of Israel were greatly disturbed by this stupendous success and were determined to bring the whole thing to a halt. We’ll begin to see that happen in Chapter Four. For now, let’s see to these last few verses and then review a bit of what’s transpired thus far.

NEHEMIAH 3:28-32
28 Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer made repairs in front of his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs. 30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his dwelling. 31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the Nethinim and of the merchants, in front of the Miphkad Gate, and as far as the upper room at the corner. 32 And between the upper room at the corner, as far as the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.

More is mentioned about repairs done “in front of his own house…dwelling” where priests and other workers effected repairing the Horse Gate and the East Gate. The work included the “Chamber of the Corner” and the final repair work that led and finalized the project where it all began, at the Sheep Gate.

The LORD desires to do a transformative work in all of us, as well as all of creation. Both have been seriously, detrimentally marred by sin, the most destructive force known anywhere. Consider that sin is so deadly, that it took no one less than GOD made flesh to destroy it.

This is an ongoing work: the rebuilding of the wall and city of Jerusalem didn’t happen overnight, nor was it an instantaneous endeavor. It took time, effort, sweat, determination, not to mention prayer and seeking GOD.

Our own lives have begun such a work on a spiritual level: the LORD has given us brand new hearts, having discarded the old ones of stone – cold and lifeless:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
We are indeed the temple of the Holy Spirit, individually (1 COR 6:19) and collectively (1 COR 3:9,16; EPH 2:20-22), and our “Holy of Holies” (the innermost room in the Temple where the ark of the covenant resided, where once a year on Yom Kippur, the presence of GOD manifest) is indwelt and transformed with newness as freshly created by the Spirit of GOD which then begins to work on our minds (ROM 12:2; 1 COR 2:16; EPH 4:22-24; PHIL 2:5) and our actions:
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

JAMES 1:22
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
We saw some initial resistance by Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem in NEHEMIAH 2:10,19 but these three are far from done.

Likewise Satan will do everything he can to humiliate, belittle, mock, and ridicule any work that the LORD is doing in us, and what we are endeavoring to work out (PHIL 2:12-13). When that doesn’t work, he will resort to more drastic means. We will see his puppets dance to his devilishly terrible tune in the next chapters!

Next time, we’ll start examining Chapter Four in Part Six of this series!

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