November 20, 2019

Nehemiah 7: 1-73

When the wall had been built and I had hung the doors, the gatekeepers, singers, and Levites were appointed. Then I put my brother Hanani and Hananiah the commander of the fortress in charge of Jerusalem. Hananiah was a faithful man who revered God more than many.

I said to them, “The gates of Jerusalem aren’t to be opened during the hottest time of the day. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut and bar the doors. Also, appoint guards from among those who live in Jerusalem. Station some at their watch posts and some in front of their own houses.”

Now although the city was wide and large, only a few people were living within it, and no houses had been rebuilt. My God then prompted me to assemble the officials, the officers, and the people so that they could be registered by families. I found the record of the families who were the first to return, and I found the following written in it:

These are the people of the province who returned from the captivity of those exiles whom Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile. They all returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to their own town.

They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah. The number of the people in Israel: (Continue reading verses 8-73)

Nehemiah won the victory of building the wall and now he prepares Jerusalem for long-term victory. He puts things in order practically (the doors and the gatekeepers) and spiritually (the singers and the Levites). He also hands the authority of Jerusalem to godly men he can trust: Hanani, his brother who first told him about the destruction of Jerusalem (Neh. 1:2), and Hananiah. He appoints guards and instructs them to open the gates late and close them early, ensuring maximum protection during vulnerable times.

Nehemiah then turns his attention to rebuilding the community within the walls. He begins by taking a census of the people, as listed in verses 8-69. These are Jews who sacrificed the comfort of Babylon and endured hardship to return to and rebuild their homeland of Jerusalem.

In the midst of battle, it’s easy to turn to God for help. But what happens after the battle is over? What safeguards do you have in place to ensure long-term victory? (Think in terms of Nehemiah’s safeguards: people to provide Godly guidance, protection against the enemy, and strengthening within.)