Read Nehemiah 7
After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites were appointed. 2 I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. 3 I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.”
The List of the Exiles Who Returned
4 Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt. 5 So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families. I found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return. This is what I found written there:
6 These are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town, 7 in company with Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum and Baanah):
The list of the men of Israel:
|8 the descendants of Parosh||2,172|
|9 of Shephatiah||372|
|10 of Arah||652|
|11 of Pahath-Moab (through the line of Jeshua and Joab)||2,818|
|12 of Elam||1,254|
|13 of Zattu||845|
|14 of Zakkai||760|
|15 of Binnui||648|
|16 of Bebai||628|
|17 of Azgad||2,322|
|18 of Adonikam||667|
|19 of Bigvai||2,067|
|20 of Adin||655|
|21 of Ater (through Hezekiah)||98|
|22 of Hashum||328|
|23 of Bezai||324|
|24 of Hariph||112|
|25 of Gibeon||95|
|26 the men of Bethlehem and Netophah||188|
|27 of Anathoth||128|
|28 of Beth Azmaveth||42|
|29 of Kiriath Jearim, Kephirah and Beeroth||743|
|30 of Ramah and Geba||621|
|31 of Mikmash||122|
|32 of Bethel and Ai||123|
|33 of the other Nebo||52|
|34 of the other Elam||1,254|
|35 of Harim||320|
|36 of Jericho||345|
|37 of Lod, Hadid and Ono||721|
|38 of Senaah||3,930|
39 The priests:
|the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family of Jeshua)||973|
|40 of Immer||1,052|
|41 of Pashhur||1,247|
|42 of Harim||1,017|
43 The Levites:
|the descendants of Jeshua (through Kadmiel through the line of Hodaviah)||74|
44 The musicians:
|the descendants of Asaph||148|
45 The gatekeepers:
|the descendants of|
|Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita and Shobai||138|
46 The temple servants:
|the descendants of|
|Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,|
|47 Keros, Sia, Padon,|
|48 Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,|
|49 Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,|
|50 Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,|
|51 Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,|
|52 Besai, Meunim, Nephusim,|
|53 Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,|
|54 Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,|
|55 Barkos, Sisera, Temah,|
|56 Neziah and Hatipha|
57 The descendants of the servants of Solomon:
|the descendants of|
|Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,|
|58 Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,|
|59 Shephatiah, Hattil,|
|Pokereth-Hazzebaim and Amon|
|60 The temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon||392|
61 The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel:
|62 the descendants of|
|Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda||642|
63 And from among the priests:
|the descendants of|
|Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai (a man who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name).|
64 These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. 65 The governor, therefore, ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there should be a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.
66 The whole company numbered 42,360, 67 besides their 7,337 male and female slaves; and they also had 245 male and female singers. 68 There were 736 horses, 245 mules, 69 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys.
70 Some of the heads of the families contributed to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 darics of gold, 50 bowls and 530 garments for priests. 71 Some of the heads of the families gave to the treasury for the work 20,000 darics of gold and 2,200 minas of silver. 72 The total given by the rest of the people was 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 minaseof silver and 67 garments for priests.
73 The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the temple servants, along with certain of the people and the rest of the Israelites, settled in their own towns.
Ezra Reads the Law
When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns,
Nehemiah was given a remarkable amount of authority and influence in his role as governor of Judah. As we have seen in previous chapters, as vital as this task was, it faced opposition every step of the way. In this chapter, Nehemiah is divinely prompted to summon the people for enrollment. This prompting and re-enrollment was the precursor for the life changes and re-dedication that occurs in the next few chapters of this book. Nehemiah wanted people to remember Whose they were, how far God had brought them, and what God had called them to do before they moved forward.
Nehemiah was faithful to see the project through to completion. He kept his team focused through leadership centered around the Word of the Lord and the calling God had placed on their lives. The wall was finished; the project completed. However, Nehemiah remembered that the final strength or weakness of a city is its people. Because of this, he put two individuals, Hanani and Hananiah, who had been faithful previously, and who had consistently shown their love for the Lord, in charge of the city while they continued to rebuild and while Nehemiah tended to other duties. This word “faithful” is where we should focus our minds as we read today.
Luke 16:10 says “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Nehemiah, Hanani, and Hananiah were faithful to complete the tasks placed before them by the Lord and care for God’s people. Due to this faithfulness, they were given positions of authority to play a larger part in God’s plan for Jerusalem and His people.
Imagine how many frustrating, time-consuming, and downright annoying tasks these three individuals had to face in exile and while rebuilding the wall. Many would have tapped-out and called it a day or openly complained about their situation. Instead, these individuals were faithful to complete God’s calling on their lives to the best of their ability and steward the lives of those who had been entrusted into their care.
God is calling you to be faithful and excellent in the stage of life He has currently placed you, like Nehemiah, Hanani, and Hananiah. It may not seem like it, but God has you where you are for a specific reason. It may seem like you are just “building a wall” (answering emails, grading papers, taking care of your children), but your faithfulness now will pay massive dividends in the Kingdom of God for all of eternity. Steward well. Trust God. Strive for faithfulness.
- How can you be a better steward of the opportunities and leadership God has given you?
- What tasks has God given you that you could do more excellently and faithfully?
- Who are individuals in your life that can be your Hanani and Hananiah that you can link arms with and pursue God’s calling together?
Just as Nehemiah felt prompted by God to call everyone together to remember whose they were, how far God had brought them, and what God had called them to do, it is important that we do the same. Take some time now to reflect on who God says you are, where you used to be, how far God has brought you, where you believe God is taking you, and how you can faithfully fulfill God’s calling on your life today.
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