Fifty-two days may have seemed like a record making amount of time or just the fact the Jews were able to pull it off was amazing – either way, their enemies attributed the success to “the help of God.” Just the realization was discouraging and frightening to them.
Surely they had seen or heard about the intensive labor going on. Their threats had kept the Jews having to work with one hand and be ready to fight with the other. The bullies did everything to slow or stop the work but in the end they were forced to acknowledge God was in it.
I love what one IF:Sister noted. I’m calling it the “Preparation vs. Perspiration Ratio” – 4:2. Nehemiah prepared twice as long as he physically “worked”. The outcome “rang” God’s name, not his. If my life is about making God famous, then I need to mind the math!
Of course the finished project didn’t mean just laying back. The wall was done but Nehemiah continued to consider the big picture. They still had enemies; they were still vulnerable; they would still have problems. Even though these future issues were not directly his to face – (I’m thinking he is getting ready to return to his job with the king) – he was not quite finished.
Where there had been rubble, he now formalized new order. Gatekeepers, singers and Levites were appointed. New leadership is established. Men he could trust and who feared God. Then safety procedures – limiting access to the city and guards to watch for unwanted intruders.
In the afterglow of personal victory it is easy to let down one’s guard. I see this in my own life. I need to remember the Enemy is still at work. It is just wise to acknowledge the potential dangers of unguarded thoughts or outdated allegiances.
The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt. This last line seems so hopeful. He expected the houses to be rebuilt because the number of people would grow. Why else rebuild the wall at all? People would return to the City of God. Nehemiah had done his part. Others would follow.
Same for each of us who follow Jesus – we are building the Kingdom. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10