Stay Alert, Stay Vigilant – 2

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Scripture Text – Nehemiah 7

A city is much more than walls, gates, and houses; a city is made up of its people. In the first half of Nehemiah’s book, the people existed for the walls; but now the walls must exist for the people. It was time to organize the community so that the citizens could enjoy the quality of life God wanted them to have. God had great things in store for Jerusalem, for one day His Son would walk the city streets, teach in the temple, and ultimately die outside the city walls.

Enlisting Leadership – Continued

Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many. And I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.” – Nehemiah 7:1-3.

Guards (Nehemiah 7:3). Nehemiah also had appointed two kinds of guards: Those to patrol the walls at specific stations and those to keep watch near their own houses. Since many of the people had worked on areas of the wall near their homes (Nehemiah 3:10, 23, 28–30), Nehemiah now challenged them to guard the areas they had built. With guards at the gates, and watchmen on the walls, and a solid “neighborhood watch,” as it were, the city was safe from outside attack.

All of this has a message for all of us today who are walking in the Lord and in obedience to His direction:

If God’s people don’t protect what they have accomplished for the Lord, the enemy will come in and either destroy it or if he can’t do that, try to take it over.

This is all the more reason Paul’s admonition stated earlier must be heeded, “And having done all, to stand.” What a tragedy that schools that once were true to the faith are today denying the faith, and churches that once preached the Gospel now have in their pulpits ministers who preach “another gospel.”

Every Christian ministry is one short generation away from destruction, and God’s people must be on guard and must remain vigilant and ever alert!

This cannot be stressed enough and especially today.

et watchmen on watch

We need guards at the gates, faithful men and women who will not allow false Christians to get in and try to destroy or take over the ministry (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). We need watchmen on the walls to warn us when the enemy is approaching. Christian parents need to remain alert and vigilant and not be slack in their duty to guard their homes lest the enemy gets in and captures their children. It is while God’s servants are asleep and overconfident that the enemy comes in and plants his counterfeits (Matthew 13:25), so we must be and must remain awake and alert.

In this day when “pluralism and relativism” is interpreted by most people to mean “agree with everybody about everything and don’t make waves,” Christians need to remember that they are different and must test everything by the Word of God. There are many religions, but there is still “no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12. Anything that changes that message or weakens our motivation to get that message out is of the devil and must be opposed. We need guards at the gates and watchers on the wall, or the enemy will succeed in taking over.

Establishing Citizenship

Please read Nehemiah 7:4-69 for some background on this section.

Just so you know and understand, this section parallels Ezra 2:1–64. If you compare the two lists, you will see that some of Nehemiah’s names and numbers differ from those recorded nearly a century before when the exiles returned from Babylon. I had to check this out myself, however, this does not suggest that there are errors or contradictions in the Bible. Some of the reasons given were that errors in spelling names or copying numbers could easily have crept in over a century, and more essentially, none of these differences affects any matter of doctrine or duty.

Another thing to consider; the scribes who kept the public records certainly updated them after the community was established in Jerusalem. Ezra 2 lists the names of those who set out with Ezra, but it’s possible that others joined the group after Zerubbabel’s list was completed. For instance, Ezra 2:2 lists only eleven leaders, while Nehemiah 7:7 gives twelve names, adding Nahamani. “Nehum” in Nehemiah 7:7 is probably “Rehum” in Ezra 2:2. Variations such as this one are to be expected in ancient documents and especially since through the various translations over the centuries, some names have been translated with differences due to culture and language.

Also, I know that reading this long list of difficult names might be boring to the average person, or even the modern student, but we need to remember that these people were God’s “bridge” from the defeats of the past to the hopes of the future. These Jews were the “living link,” as it were, that connected the historic past with the prophetic future and made it possible for Jesus Christ to come into the world. Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7 are to the Old Testament what Hebrews 11 is to the New Testament: a listing of the people whose faith and courage made things happen.

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Determined, “Be” Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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