So I figured this week we should play some classic Bible trivia, ya know, to sharpen our Presbyterian senses. What do Eliashib the high priest, the sons of Hassenaah, Meshullam the Son of Besodeiah, Hananiah the goldsmith, the inhabitants of Zanoah, Benjamin, and Malchijah the goldsmith have in common? Absolutely nothing, of course. Who has even heard of these people anyway? I certainly hadn’t heard of any of them until our series on Nehemiah.
But wait, turns out I’ve lied to you. There are, in fact, a few things in common with this vast array of people. For starters they are all in the community of Israel, and are part of God’s chosen people in some capacity or another. They all live under the sure promise that God will preserve their number forever, using them in his glorious plan to rescue the world from sin and death. What an adhesive to bind God’s people together! So often it seems we subconsciously (or perhaps on purpose) exclude people who are in a different facet of life, social class, or even personality category than us. Perhaps it’s a simple thought, but I think a profound one, that being a fellow child of God with other believers is the strongest of bonds. And as you move through these two chapters, you’ll find what the purpose of this reality is.
In chapter 2, Nehemiah sneaks out into the city at night to inspect the walls of Jerusalem. We must notice that he takes care to know the task that is before them, and does not simply jump in with his eyes closed faintly hoping that the Lord will come through. But he also doesn’t get bogged down with having minimal resources. Upon inspecting the walls, he begins to assign each destroyed section of the wall to individuals, families, groups; even the priests take a section (the proof text for building the nativity, of course!). Goldsmiths, perfumers, priests, leaders, servants, the list goes on. The point is that God uses everyone to build his kingdom. If you are powerful, be reminded that God uses you no more profoundly than the lowly unskilled laborer. If you feel weak and useless today, be reminded that your Savior-King delights to let you into his story. I mean, what business does a maker of perfume have doing construction? None, except for an invitation from the Divine Architect himself. And in verse 20 of chapter 2 we find the surety that such a heterogeneous, rag-tag group of Christ followers will not fail. “Then [Nehemiah] replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build.”
What will you ‘arise and build’ today, dear friend?