Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God and Confess the sin.
Praise God that we can rest in His wonderful blessings in our lives. Pray that we would enjoy that rest through faith and active obedience. Confess the sin of worry.
Please ask the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
Please read Nehemiah 3:1-32
Notes previously prepared by Rev. Dr. Tim Donachie, with slight amendments.
Nehemiah 3:1-5 – Strengthening.
It might seem that chapter three is of nothing more than historical interest. That, however, is far from the truth for there are many spiritual lessons to be learned from this chapter. Nehemiah describes the work as he moves round from gate to gate, for the gates were the entry points to the city and most vulnerable to attack.
1. The Sheep Gate – so described because that was where the shepherds brought their sheep to sell them. It was here that the high priest and his fellow priests laboured. It must have been a great encouragement for the people to see their spiritual leaders involved in, and leading, the work. It is very significant that Eliashib is the first person mentioned – he led in the work and more than fifty others are mentioned who followed him. When the gate was built and the doors hung, it was consecrated to the Lord to show that this was done for the glory of God, Colossians 3:17. Not only was the gate rebuilt, the walls linking it to the next gate were also rebuilt and strengthened to protect the city.
2. The Fish Gate – so called as it was near the fish market, was built by one family, and other families worked at making repairs. The word for repairs is the Hebrew word ‘chazaq’, used 35 times in this chapter alone. It has the idea of strengthening, encouraging, of making something strong. This is something needful in the church, as Paul points out in Ephesians 4:11-13. Many were involved in the strengthening work, including the men from Tekoa, but sadly their nobles did not join with them. They would not submit to the Lord. In any work for the Lord there are always some who just want to stand on the sidelines and watch.
Nehemiah 3:6-12 – All Who Were Willing.
When we read the list of those who willingly engaged in the work of rebuilding, and the strengthening of the city walls, there are some very interesting insights:
1. These men were not professional builders – there was a goldsmith and a perfumer – but the important thing was that they were willing. Those who may have limited ability but a passion to see the work of the Lord advance will accomplish far more than a talented and gifted person with no passion and heart for the work. Zeal for the Lord and a willing desire to glorify Him are the essential requirements.
2. Those with leadership responsibilities in the community did not delegate the work to others, but joined with them in the hard, physical work. An inactive leadership is no leadership at all.
3. Four times in chapter 3, men are mentioned who made repairs in front of their own houses (Jedaiah v.10, Benjamin v. 23, Zadok v. 29, Meshullum v. 30). In any work of spiritual restoration, care must be given to strengthening the home life of the people.
4. Malchijah is mentioned in Ezra 10:31 as a man who was rebuked for having taken a pagan wife; nevertheless, his past sin did not prevent him now serving the Lord. Past sin must be repented of and left behind but must not be allowed to stand in the way of future service.
5. Everyone who was able joined in the work – 'Shallum ...and his daughters made repairs'. Sometimes there are those in the church who do not think they have anything to contribute to the advancement of the cause of Christ, but the lesson here is not that everybody did the same work, but that everybody, men and women, did what they could.
Nehemiah 3:13-32 – Complete Restoration.
The rest of the third chapter gives a list of all those who worked on or around the remaining gates.
1. The restoration was to be a complete one – no gaps were to be left and no part of the structure was to be left un-strengthened or unrepaired. This speaks of the need for the work of spiritual restoration in the church to be a complete one – sound doctrine must be accompanied by loving fellowship, spiritual worship, and zealous outreach.
2. Once again, the variety of people involved in the building work is striking – there were officials, Levites, priests, temple servants, goldsmiths, and merchants all joining together for the common good. The great lesson in this is a very characteristic New Testament one – that of diversity in unity, found in such passages as Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul speaks of the body of Christ and 'members in particular'. We have all different functions to fulfil and different contributions to make to the whole.
3. There are two more interesting comments made in this section – one man, Baruch, is said to have done his work 'carefully' or 'zealously', v.20. Although it seems as though everybody worked with a will, Baruch stood out for the character of his work. He seems to exemplify the teaching of Colossians 3:17,23. There is also mention of the men of Tekoa who were not satisfied with building a section of wall around the fish gate, v. 5, they also set to building another section of the wall around the water gate, v. 27. When there is a heart for the work of the Lord, nothing is too much trouble. Although Nehemiah is not seen in this chapter, it was his inspired and wise leadership that got the work underway.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 125. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Memory Verses to lay into your heart and mind.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
James 1:2-3, “Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 22 – How did Christ, the Son of God, become man?
Answer – Christ, the Son of God, became man by taking to himself a body and a soul like ours, being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.
Comment – The Divine person took to himself a true human nature. Jesus’ humanity was a true humanity because he was born of a true, human mother. It was a perfect humanity, not because Mary was different from other women, but because it was made for him by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was a real man. He was born a helpless baby, and grew up like other children. The only difference was that he never did wrong.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for the privilege of labouring under Christ as He builds His Church. Pray that Christ would bring people to the church who would be willing to labour with us in this task.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC