“OPPOSITE HIS OWN HOUSE” Thoughts from the Bible readings for Nov. 16th
What a lesson in teamwork we have today in Nehemiah’s 3rd chapter. Yesterday we read how he was sent to Jerusalem and he secretly – at night – explored the terrible condition of the walls and gates. The 2nd chapter concluded with his declaration to the non-Jews opposing his declaration to rebuild its walls “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build …” [v.20]
Today’s 32 verses in the 3rd chapter goes into interesting detail about the teamwork involved in the rebuilding – which started with “Eliashib the high priest” [v.1]. As well as rebuilding the walls they needed to rebuild the gates; those who rebuilt “the Fish Gate … laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars.” [v.3] But there were some “nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.” [v.5] But most did, “… goldsmiths repaired …. one of the perfumers …” [v.8] “Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters.” [v.12] Most saw the work as a family enterprise! Surely this is an excellent example for us in serving our Lord today – teamwork.
Another lesson is how “the priests repaired, each one opposite his own house. After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his own house.” [v.28,29] Let us not neglect trying to repair the ‘spiritual walls’ in the areas where we live. It could be said that we are not as good at trying to do this – as in travelling to distant parts.
From these verses we are caused to meditate on the enormous amount of spiritual repair and building that will be needed throughout the world when Jesus returns when it will be necessary to “decide disputes for many peoples” [Isa. 2 v.4]. The latter part of ch. 8 in Zechariah’s prophecy gives as a significant insight into this. “The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to …. seek the LORD of hosts; I myself am going.’ Many … shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem …. Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'” [v.21-23]
It could be our ‘privilege’ to have that experience, as ‘spiritual Jews’ – oh the wonder of serving our Lord in the way and many other ways, throughout his kingdom! With this vision before us let us “rise up and build” [Neh.2 v.18] each other’s faith – as well as our own (in a sense “opposite our own house”) – so that the walls and gates are strong – for our world is full of enemies, like Nehemiah realized, seeking to undermine and destroy our faith.