“And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs.” Nehemiah 3:12
In answer to the call of Nehemiah the people set to work. They swarmed in from the surrounding regions, each community or family taking a section, they began by clearing the rubble and then rebuilding the wall.
Verse thirteen, of chapter three, gives us an indication of how big each section of wall might have been. One leader, a man named Hanun, together with other members of the region he was from, rebuilt a gate and an adjoining section of wall that was 1000 cubits long. If they were using the shorter, common, cubit that would be about 1800 feet of wall.
God had worked a miracle, the people, nearly every single Jewish man, woman, and child were mobilized to take part in the work.
But no one was compelled to participate. While it appears that most came and presented their labor as a offering to God there were some who refused. Verse five tells us that the nobles from the region of Tekoa, a community not far from Bethlehem, refused to take part. But the people under their leadership didn’t follow their example. Instead, chapter three records that the citizens of Tekoa rebuilt not one, but two sections of wall.
For our focus text I used Nehemiah 3:12. I used this passage because generally in scripture it’s the men who get credit for the work they and their families do. The reason for this is because usually they and their sons were the ones doing the work away from home. Their wives and daughters were generally engaged in the substantial work required to keep a household running and their families fed. Verse twelve, however, tells us that when it came to the rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall the women weren’t going to be left out. One man, Shallum the son of Hallohesh, together with his daughters, led the work in rebuilding another section of the wall.
How I wish that when a call went out to do the work of God for his church that the response would be this enthusiastic. Generally, you can count on only about a quarter of the church membership to care for the needs of their church and in many cases the day to day needs are seen to by an even smaller percentage of the church body. Most beg off or flatly refuse presenting some specious excuse as the reason for their absence or inability. When it comes to out reach participation gets even thinner.
Friends, like the Jews of Nehemiah’s day we have a work to do that is daunting in its scale. God has called a people of just 20 million to reach a planet of more than 7 billion, and the world population grows at a much more rapid rate than the church membership does.
Jesus is coming soon. The work of reaching the world with the present truth of the gospel message is even more vital than the work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was to the Jews. We need every person to arise and join in the work. It would be wonderful if we could turn in evangelistic reports similar to the reports of work in Nehemiah 3. This man, and his family, and his sabbath school class, did the work in this section; until all the work was covered.