Celebrate God's Word!
When Nehemiah and the Israelites finished the work on the protective wall around Jerusalem in a remarkable 52 days, two immediate tasks remained ahead… one was to make sure the wall was secure to protect the people inside and secondly, to make sure that the people inside those walls were fully focused on God.
In Nehemiah 7, Nehemiah took two important steps to safeguard the people in Jerusalem by enlisting leadership and establishing citizenship.
One leadership position that was particularly important was the commander of the citadel, which was an area near the temple in the northern section of the wall that was particularly vulnerable to attack. Nehemiah was very careful and intentional with filling this position. He chose a man named Hananiah because he was a man of integrity and feared God. (Nehemiah 7:2)
It is imperative to put God-fearing people of integrity in vital leadership positions! Surround yourself, your family, and your ministry with faithful people who fear God. Someone asked me this week what it means to fear God. That’s a great question and is an entire sermon in itself, but a very simple explanation is that fearing God means having a reverence for Him that greatly impacts the way we live. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshiping Him in awe. (Ref. Hebrews 12:28-29). We want to be, and to be around, God-fearing people of integrity.
Nehemiah was also very intentional about putting guards on the gates and watchers on the walls. We too must put safeguards in place to protect those we love most. Put safeguards in place on technology, on programming, on influencers. Make sure that you have guards at the gates and watchers on the walls! (Ref. Ephesians 6:13)
Nehemiah also took special care to establish citizenship in Jerusalem. He wanted to populate the city with those who could trace their Hebrew ancestral roots and were proud of their Jewish heritage. Most important is not simply to count the people, but to recognize that these people counted! In returning to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity, these people were pioneers of faith. They showed enormous trust in God to do the impossible- to rebuild a wall and a city that had laid in ruins for decades. God is still calling people today to follow Him by faith and to trust Him with their lives.
One commentary I read in my study noted that it is worth asking ourselves this critical question: “If I had to prove my genealogy to get into God’s city, could I do it?” The truth is, we will all stand before God one day, prepared to enter heaven or hell; and in that moment, to enter heaven, we will need proof of our heritage as a part of His family. And there is only one way to be counted in God’s family and enter His heaven. That is through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Proof of this alone guarantees your entrance and mine into God’s heaven. 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
As we begin Nehemiah 8, a transition takes place in the book. The walls are complete, the material needs of the people have been met; now it’s time to focus on the spiritual needs of the people. So Nehemiah compels the people to focus on and respond to God’s Word in three distinct ways. For much more, click here to listen to: Resolute - Part 6 - Celebrate God’s Word!