Nehemiah chapter 3
Nehemiah faced a problem. Saying it and doing it are often two things. The people had been ready to say “Let’s start rebuilding! (2:18), yet Nehemiah must have wondered if it would really happen. In this chapter, we will see that the people started out rebuilding the wall immediately. This chapter is one long list of people who found a zeal for the Lord and who lifted up their hands to accomplish something great for themselves. It is a testimony to the people of Jerusalem who put their words into actions and built the wall for God’s glory and for their own protection. In just 52 days they would rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. That timespan shows how hard they worked and how dedicated they were to the task.
Bible Study – Nehemiah 3:1-32
1. When have you enjoyed working with a group of people on a project?
2. What was the sheep gate and why would the priests care about this section of the wall? (3:1)
3. Not every group of important people helped with the wall. Who was unwilling to help? (3:5) How did the average people of the city show themselves to be more noble than the nobles? (3:5,27)
4. How does it affect a project when some people think that they are above doing the hard work?
5. What seems to be a guiding factor of what part of the wall that some people did? (3:10, 23, 28-29) Why would this be a natural thing to do?
6. What is most dear about the ministry of your church to you? Why might that be a good place for you to serve? What does the building of the wall tell you about the way to accomplish a big task?
7. What do you notice about the amount of work (3:11, 19, 21, 24, 27, 30) and the energy (3:20) that some put into their work. How is this a model for us?
8 Why do you think that the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding villages were so committed to this work?
9. Nehemiah’s name is missing in this list. What do you suppose that Nehemiah was doing while the work was going on? What does that tell you about the role of the leader?
10. What does this passage tell you about how to accomplish an important task?
Becoming a Leader
Five lessons on getting the job done.
Ministry happens when the leaders set the example v. 1. Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. The first ones mentioned in this list of rebuilding the wall was the High Priest. Priests were not the ones that were involved in manual labor since their work was to teach the people and lead worship. Yet, here we find them working at the sheep gate where the animals would come into the temple to be sacrificed. Their example will lead priests from the surrounding region to work on another part of the wall (3:22)
Ministry happens when everyone gets involved v.8. Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. We find perfume makers, goldsmiths, and Levites. We find residents of Zanoah, Mizpah, and the hill of Ophel. It was not a few who worked on the wall, but people of diverse regions and occupations. This was a community problem and so we have a community solution. As they worked together, there seems to be a unity among the people. Each one does their part and that builds strength among the people in a way that just a few working on the problem would never do.
Ministry happens when people take responsibility for things dear to them v 28. Beyond them, Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs in front of their house; and next to them, Azariah son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs beside his house. Many of the assignments were taken because they affected the lives of a group of people. If you lived near a section of the wall you wanted it to be strong and give you protection. You had a vested interest in rebuilding that section. Many of the places that God calls people to serve are the places nearest their heart. They may be involved in children’s ministry because they have young children or involved in music because they enjoy having a choir. God often calls us to serve in a place that is dear to us. It is where we often get the most benefit and can make the greatest contribution.
Ministry happens when a few get excited about the work v. 20. Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest. One man, Baruch, is specifically mentioned because he seems to be on fire for the project. His work ethic and excitement about the project surely caught on to others. They say how he worked and they worked a little harder. In the modern church, a person who is really excited about ministry talks about what they are doing and seems to draw others to the project as well. A person on fire can do more than a hundred people who are only lukewarm to the project.
Ministry happens when some are willing to quietly do their work. It is hard to imagine Nehemiah not taking part in the project. He spurred others on and got people excited about what God was doing. You will, however, not notice his name anywhere in the list. As he writes this account, he is silent about his part in the work. He worked behind the scenes and never wants the glory for his work. Perhaps, he did not have a section of the wall but was making sure that wood was delivered to each spot for the gates or that food was being served for the workers. He worked hard, I am sure, but he is glad to give others the credit and to give God the glory.