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The Work of Building

Scripture Passage: 
Nehemiah 3:1-32; Nehemiah 4:1-23
Attached audio files: 

Introduction: Many think the work of the Lord is easy. It is not. God’s work requires the greatest of organization and effort. Then, those doing it must be prepared for battle because the forces of this world will surely oppose it. This record of the building of the wall contains much instruction about the requirements for doing a work for God.

  1. ORGANIZATION OF THE WORK (Nehemiah 3:1-32)
    1. Description of the Work – This chapter gives a counter-clockwise description of the rebuilding of the wall from the sheep gate (Nehemiah 3:1) all the way around and back again to the sheep gate (Nehemiah 3:32).
    2. The Listing of the Gates – Preachers and Bible teachers have often taken these gates as symbolic of stages or challenges in the Christian life. The possibilities for practical application are large.
      1. The sheep gate (Nehemiah 3:1, 32)
      2. The fish gate (Nehemiah 3:3)
      3. The old gate (Nehemiah 3:6)
      4. The valley gate (Nehemiah 3:13)
      5. The dung gate (Nehemiah 3:14)
      6. The fountain gate (Nehemiah 3:15)
      7. The water gate (Nehemiah 3:26)
      8. The horse gate (Nehemiah 3:28)
      9. The east gate (Nehemiah 3:29)
      10. The gate Miphkad or the judgment gate (Nehemiah 3:31)
    3. Later Gate Names – some of these may be newly built gates; some may be new names for old gates
      1. The Ephraim gate (Nehemiah 8:16)
      2. The corner gate (Jeremiah 31:39)
      3. The prison gate (Nehemiah 12:39)
      4. Benjamin’s gate (Zechariah 14:10)
    4. Other Notes on the Chapter
      1. The high priest worked alongside his brethren (Nehemiah 3:1)
      2. The nobles of the Tekoites “put not their necks to the work of the Lord” (Nehemiah 3:5). This was a shame to them.
      3. The daughters of Halohesh worked with him (Nehemiah 3:12)
      4. The sixth son of a man might not receive many earthly honors, but Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph has his name recorded for his work on the temple (Nehemiah 3:30)
  2. OPPOSITION TO THE WORK (Nehemiah 4:1-12)
    1. Opposition by Ridicule (Nehemiah 4:1-6)
      1. The mockery of Sanballat (Nehemiah 4:1-2; Psalm 40:12-17)
        1. His response to the news (Nehemiah 4:1)
          1. He heard
          2. He was wroth
          3. He had great indignation
          4. He mocked
        2. His five questions (Nehemiah 4:2); Note: “will they make an end in a day?” probably refers to their supposed foolishness in thinking that they can end the reproach on them as a people in the one act of rebuilding the wall.
      2. The mockery of Tobiah (Nehemiah 4:3; Lamentations 5:17-18); even a fox could break down their feeble efforts
      3. The prayer of the Jews (Nehemiah 4:4-5)
        1. For God to hear how they are despised (Nehemiah 4:4)
        2. For God to turn the reproach of their enemies on their own head (Nehemiah 4:4)
        3. For God to make them pay for their sins (Nehemiah 4:5)
        4. For God not to calm His anger (Nehemiah 4:5)
      4. The mind of the people (Nehemiah 4:6)
        1. Half of the wall was done at this point
        2. The people had a mind to work (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23; compare Zechariah 4:6-10)
    2. Opposition by Conspiracy (Nehemiah 4:7-12)
      1. Plans made to fight (Nehemiah 4:7-8; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12-14)
        1. The enemies hear the news (Nehemiah 4:7)
          1. The walls were being built
          2. The breaches were being stopped; Note: breaches were gaps in the wall where it had been damaged or destroyed
        2. The enemies conspire against the Jews (Nehemiah 4:8; Psalm 83:3-5; Isaiah 8:9-10)
          1. To fight against Jerusalem
          2. To hinder the building of the walls
      2. Watch set day and night (Nehemiah 4:9)
        1. Their prayer unto God
        2. Their watch against their enemies
          1. They would watch and pray (Matthew 26:41; 1 Thessalonians 5:6)
          2. They were faithful day and night (Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 2:9)
      3. Backlogs in the work (Nehemiah 4:10; see Galatians 6:9)
        1. The strength of the bearers is decayed
        2. There is still much rubbish to removed
        3. It keeps the wall from being built
      4. News of approaching enemies (Nehemiah 4:11-12)
        1. Plans for a surprise attack (Nehemiah 4:11)
        2. Warnings from the local Jews (Nehemiah 4:12)
          1. Warning of ambushing attacks
          2. Warning ten times (Genesis 31:41; Numbers 14:22; Job 19:3)
  3. RESPONSE TO THE OPPOSITION (Nehemiah 4:13-23)
    1. Military Preparation (Nehemiah 4:13-15)
      1. Weapons in their hands (Nehemiah 4:13; compare Ephesians 6:10-18)
      2. Trust in the Lord (Nehemiah 4:14; Psalm 144:1; Proverbs 21:31)
        1. Be not afraid of them
        2. Remember the might of the Lord
        3. Fight for your families and houses
      3. Fear in the enemy (Nehemiah 4:15)
        1. They heard that their plans were known
        2. God had brought their counsel to nought
    2. Continued Work (Nehemiah 4:16-18; compare Luke 14:28-33)
      1. Dividing the workers (Nehemiah 4:16)
        1. Those who continued the work on the wall
        2. Those who held the weapons of war
      2. Dividing the labor (Nehemiah 4:17)
        1. Doing the work with one hand
        2. Holding the weapon with the other hand
      3. Building the wall (Nehemiah 4:18)
        1. The builders continued to build
        2. The man with the trumpet stayed by Nehemiah
    3. Constant Readiness (Nehemiah 4:19-23; Titus 3:1)
      1. Listening for the trumpet (Nehemiah 4:19-20)
        1. Separation caused by the greatness of the wall (Nehemiah 4:19)
        2. Instructions to gather to the sound of the trumpet (Nehemiah 4:20)
      2. Watching day and night (Nehemiah 4:21)
      3. Lodging in the city (Nehemiah 4:22; compare Hebrews 10:25)
        1. With their servants
        2. To guard the city by night
      4. Keeping on their garments (Nehemiah 4:23)

Conclusion: Nehemiah was determined to finish the wall of Jerusalem and he took every effort to continue the work. His leadership kept the people going when others would have failed. This struggle says much about the Christian life and the work of the Lord. Are you doing everything possible to continue the work to which God has called you? Are you taking heed to the ministry to fulfill it? See Colossians 4:17.

MEMORY VERSES:

Nehemiah 4:6 – So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
Colossians 4:17 – And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
Nehemiah 4:17 – They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 25:14

Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.