Day 4

We Began Rebuilding the Walls

from the Nehemiah reading plan


Nehemiah 3:1-32, Romans 12:3-8, Psalm 8:1

Do you ever feel like you’re waiting for meaningful work to come into your life? That your present situation is beneath you in some way, but one day you’ll find your true calling?

Read Nehemiah 3. Every word. All the way through. It might take some effort, but it’s nothing compared to the work the people in the chapter are doing.

Nehemiah 3 is about how the work gets done. This chapter is filled with people’s names and the sections of the wall and gates they worked on. It’s a strange little chapter if you’re reading it looking for something poetic or sentimental. But it is a powerful record of people rising to the occasion to rebuild what enemies had once torn down. It is also a powerful statement about calling.

Think about these people for a minute. Take Jedediah son of Harumaph from verse 10 as an example. We’re told he worked on the broad wall—the outer city wall—between Rephaiah son of Hur and Hattush the son of Hashabneiah. Can you imagine them there—Rephaiah, Jedediah, and Hattush—working away in the dust and sun? Can you hear the chatter between them as they take their water breaks and compare their busted knuckles and blistered palms? Can you hear them talking about what things will be like when the wall is finished?

These guys were doing real work. Hard work. They are in this chapter not for being celebrities or for splitting the atom, but for moving rocks—a job so difficult that criminals are sentenced to do it as punishment. Why does God’s Holy Word contain a record of men stacking rocks?

One reason, I believe, can be found in a little detail we’re given about Jedediah, and also about Meremoth (v.21), Benjamin and Hasshub (v.23), the priests (v.28), Zadok (v.29), and Meshullam (v.30). Do you see what they all have in common? These people were all working on the parts of the wall that were right outside their homes. They were doing the hard work that was in front of them.

More often than not, this is our calling in life: to do the work that is in front of us, and to do it faithfully. Though we might be tempted to go around the world trying to find our calling in life, more often than not the place where we’re needed most is right outside our own front doors.

It is no small thing to have your name included in the Bible. Though some in this chapter are called out for their idleness—like the Tekoite noblemen (v.5)—most of the names in this chapter are there to honor the work of these men and women who worked to rebuild their hometown out of the ruins in their own neighborhoods.

Look outside your own front door. What work is there to do? How can you help? Maybe that’s your calling right now.  

Written by Russ Ramsey

Post Comments (9)

9 thoughts on "We Began Rebuilding the Walls"

  1. Nick says:

    All walks of life, all professions, all peoples, men and women, old and young. They all are called to serve and put in an honest days work. So are we. Called every day to do an honest day work. Start at home, rebuild what may have been torn down around you. Through God all is achievable.

  2. Micah McNeal says:

    In reading this I am constantly reminded of how God is the great uniter. All of these people from different walks of life are united and though this is extraordinary, this is nothing compared to the uniting power of the life , death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  3. Lucas Harriman says:

    What an encouragement to anyone who is working to build his family on the foundation of Christ. It is difficult work, often going unnoticed for years. It is a spiritually knuckle-bruising, backbreaking work. But the Lord sees and knows. This is what he has called us to. As the verses in Romans remind us, may we “lead with zeal” and “not be slothful in zeal [but] be fervent in spirit” as we fulfill this high calling from the Lord.

  4. Jeff says:

    Great, big tasks can be overwhelming if you try to do them on your own.
    It takes a village…
    We are called to work together. We cannot accomplish what God has for us, by ourselves.

  5. Ivan Aguas says:

    I love it, “do the work that is right in front of you!!” Sometimes we complicate things. We overthink the obvious!! Where is God calling me, where should I go?!! Sometimes it IS that simple. God says… “I’m calling you to what’s right in front of you my child” I know for myself I tend to be stubborn with Jesus and say to Him, “anything but that Lord, please” If I hesitate or am reluctant at first, that’s an pretty good indication that the Lord is calling me to it!! Amen

  6. CamSwanson says:

    That’s where I am right now, feeling underpaid and undervalued. But the work is important, even though it doesn’t pay well. I am a background check coordinator in Europe. So I’m a watchman in a sense, on the wall, so a little bit of Nehemiah and Ezekiel. I’m asking the Lord to show me how to thoroughly enjoy my work. The job is cool; we’re just extremely behind right now. But God’s grace will be sufficient, I’m sure.

  7. Drew Bell says:

    The devotional is right; this chapter seems to have little sentimentality at first blush. It does; however, contain examples of godly men who decided to put in the work to achieve what was laid before them as a responsibility.

    God gives us each giftings and roles, He desires us to be a functioning part of the body. This requires action on our parts according to what we have been given. Equally called to unequal roles, we are crucial parts of His body.

  8. Micah says:

    I will be faithful to do the work that is before me. Take care of my wife and family, and work as in my job. I will make every effort to do it to the best, for God. This is my calling.

  9. Josh W says:

    The men in this chapter of Nehemiah are forever remembered in the Bible not for their great deeds, but for their obedience and willingness to serve. They did manual labor, not something “special” or “exciting”. They weren’t lauded for their accomplishments. In many eyes, what they did was commonplace. However, because of their obedience, we still know their names.
    We might not be called to greatness. We might not be called to a visible position. But… we are all called to serve where God has us. For some that may be from a pulpit, preaching Gods word to hundreds or thousands, but for others that might mean being a diligent and hard worker at a muffler shop, being a quiet example of Christ to only a few. That doesn’t mean one is better than the other. In God’s eyes, both are equally important.

    God,
    Help me to be content where I’m at. Help me to not strive toward mans approval, but towards yours. Help to maintain my focus on you and your kingdom, not my own.

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