So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. (Nehemiah 4:6, NKJV).
Everyone has certain skills that they enjoy and do well. I can cook, although not gourmet, and I have fun doing craft projects. Certain things I do out of necessity but with no real talent. I can hammer a nail to hang a picture, but I can’t build anything. I am dangerous around a tube of caulk and have average success with a paintbrush. What I have never attempted is to build a wall. But let me tell you about the wall builders in the Book of Nehemiah
A little background. Nehemiah, a Jewish man, served as the cupbearer in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes. This was a very trusted position, and Nehemiah apparently enjoyed the favor of the king. When Artaxerxes noticed his sad countenance and inquired why, Nehemiah replied, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?” (Nehemiah 2:3, NKJV). The king granted Nehemiah’s request to return to Jerusalem and begin to rebuild. The king even offered timber from his forest.
Nehemiah was neither a priest nor a prophet. He was a layman with passion and a purpose. The task ahead of him and his fellow Israelites would not be easy. Adversaries tried to hinder their progress as they rebuilt, but God sustained them. Even though the population of Jerusalem was low and the opposition great, the people “had a mind to work.” At times this meant building with one hand while holding a weapon in the other. Working together they completed the overwhelming task of rebuilding the gates and the city walls in just fifty-two days. What an amazing picture of what happens when everyone works in unity!
Although I’ve read the Book of Nehemiah many times, I recently noticed certain details. Rebuilding the wall required hard manual labor, but not all (maybe none) were builders by trade. Chapter three mentions a perfumer, goldsmiths, merchants, and even women. Building a wall may not have been in their skill set, but each willingly stepped up to the task. Desperate times demanded everyone’s help regardless of their level of ability. Everyone could do something—and they did. The people did all they could, and then God did the rest.
Nehemiah was a cupbearer, not a stonemason. Uzziel was a goldsmith, Hananiah a perfumer, and Rephaiah a ruler’s son. Yet these men of varied talents worked side by side to see the wall rebuilt.
There may be times in our walk with God when we will be asked to push beyond the things we do well, our specific skills, to stand in the gap with others. Just as the citizens of Jerusalem needed unity to rebuild the walls, the church needs unity to face whatever opposition Satan may bring against us. Within the church, a teenager may work beside a lawyer, a tow truck driver, or a retired teacher. Our unity binds us to a common purpose.
Ecclesiastes 9:19 tells us, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (NKJV). When we bind together, the enemy is defeated and God’s work will be accomplished.