1 Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed,
2 That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.
First Nehemiah says that when the wall was finished, he appointed its rulers. This is the next necessary step. First build up the wall safe and complete. Then set up faithful rulers in charge. His principle of choice is a very important one to follow-
"He was a faithful man, and feared God above many"
This should be the basis of choice in all ecclesial arrangements-natural ability, personal relationship, animal friendliness - m e a n NOTHING.
"To THIS man will I look, saith the Lord ..."
-not to the learned, or accomplished, or polished, or self assertive,
"... to him that is poor, and of a broken spirit, and that TREMBLETH AT MY WORD" (Isa. 66:2). *
3 And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.
...the gates were only to be opened at limited times, and under careful guard, and during the night each household was to be responsible for setting a watch in its own area.
They were actually in a state of siege, where constant care and watchfulness was essential to their safety. We are impressed in all these things with the parallel of the Household today, as sheep in the midst of wolves.*
4 Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.
We notice that Nehemiah has a single purpose-the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem-and he proceeds in an orderly way from step to step. He says so often,
"My God put in my heart"
to do this or that.
All action must be based on prayer and study of the Word of God, seeking guidance-
"It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer.10:23).
We must learn, and remember, that as natural, animal creatures we have neither the knowledge nor mental capacity to determine our course of action ourselves. Man, with all his pride, is utterly and constitutionally incapable of knowing what he should do even from moment to moment, let alone the big issues of life.*
5 And my Elohim put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein,
For the foundation of his genealogy, Nehemiah first goes back to the record of those who came back from Babylon one hundred years before under Zerubbabel The rest of chapter seven is this list, which is identical, except in minor detail, with that in Ezra chapter two.
It is thought more probable that Ezra's list is the way it was when made up in Babylon before leaving, while Nehemiah's is a list made after arriving in the land, with adjustments made for any changes that occurred in between.*
70 And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests' garments.
71 And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver.
72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests' garments.
73 So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.
The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the sixth month [Elul], just a few days before the beginning of the seventh [Ethanim], in which the joyful Feast of Tabernacles was to be celebrated.
The people were apparently aware by custom and tradition that certain national celebration days fell in this month, but they were not aware of the details. Having completed the wall, however, their minds turn toward God Who has prospered their effort thus far.
What should they do-how should they proceed to arrange their national life?
This is the most encouraging sign in the whole book, and must have given Nehemiah great comfort and satisfaction. Just how widespread the feeling was, or how long it endured afterward, we do not know, but at this time at least there was a great movement to seek the Law of God.
An enthusiastic desire on the part of all members for a constant increase of the knowledge of the Word of God is essential for any sound ecclesial life-not just a few, well-worn, crotchetty points, beaten back and forth, year after year, but a broad, balanced wholesome study of all Scripture.
This love for, and knowledge of, God's Word is the great distinction between the people of God and the people of the world. Without this we may be very "nice" people, but we have no right to consider ourselves children of God.
*Bro Growcott - Let us rise up and build