Chapter 2 of Nehemiah is about his own return to Jerusalem; it finished with his rebuke to those who opposed the rebuilding of its walls; these were an Ammonite and an Arab (v.19), they did not want the Jews to be able to defend themselves. But the Jews set to work – and it was a most remarkable team effort!
As we read ch. 3 we counted 33 individuals and groups who each did their part in rebuilding parts of the wall, noting the words, “and next to him … and after him.” For example, “Jedaiah … repaired the wall opposite his home” [v.10] then Shallum, “ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters” [v.12] – it was an all-out effort with the women helping too! The gates also had to be repaired and put in place (v.14,15) The priests also were involved (v.22), no one was exempt.
This Is the same in building up the “body of Christ”! Nehemiah inspired in them such a will to work that they completed the work “in fifty two days” [6 v.15] despite the increasing opposition we will read of tomorrow.
Let’s consider the spiritual counterpart to all this, we do not have a human Nehemiah urging us on, instead we have our Lord Jesus. How conscious are we that “he has said ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” [Heb.13 v.5]
In Hebrews ch.12 believers are urged to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith …” [v.1,2]
In Eph. 2 v.21,22 we saw that believers are building on the foundation the prophets and Apostles laid – and Jesus is the “cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together …”
Paul told the Corinthians, “Let each one take care how he builds upon it” [1 Cor. 3 v.10] and in I Thessalonians which we started reading today, Paul says, “since we belong to the day” and not the darkness of this world, “therefore encourage one another and build one another up” [5 v.8,11]
Followers of Christ are a team and teamwork is vital! We have no head but Christ (Eph. 4 v.15). Sadly those who have strayed from the way the church was ‘built’ in the first centuries resort to having leaders, teamwork among them is minimal, if it exists at all. So the example of teamwork we are reading in Nehemiah is an example for true believers of all ages