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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

May 24, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading: Nehemiah 1-3


Nehemiah 3:2

And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.


The book of Nehemiah is one of the greatest leadership training books in all the world. It is the second book in a three-part volume (Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther). Wherein Ezra is a book about religious reforms and Esther is a book that rolls back the veil allowing the reader to see the unseen hand of God moving on behalf of His people, Nehemiah is a book about a group of people coming together to accomplish a great thing for their city, their God, and their fellow citizens.


In this third chapter of Nehemiah’s story the old adage “Many hands make light work” can be visualized. Ezra has been on the scene for about 13 years, and it has been about 100 years since Cyrus’s decree went forth to rebuild the city. For the historians that read these devotions, Nehemiah was authorized to go to Jerusalem by Artaxerxes Longimanus of secular history fame around 444 B.C. It’s interesting to note that this Artaxerxes was the son of Ahasuerus (Xerxes of history), the king of Persia who was married to Esther, the Jewess. He (Artaxerxes) was probably her stepson. Her story, Queen Esther that is, took place around 40 years earlier.


Back to the thought for the day. Many hands make light work. In the third chapter of Nehemiah more than forty men, and women, are listed as having a part in the work of rebuilding the walls around the city. They were from all walks of life: priests, nobles, Gentiles and Jews, rulers, soldiers, goldsmiths, and merchants. They came together for a common cause, had a mind to work, continued under threats of physical harm, and together they finished the job in record time, 52 days.


Nehemiah somehow led these various individuals, many of whom probably had huge egos, to do a great work. What was his secret?


Prayer. He prayed after hearing of Jerusalem’s condition (1:3). He also prayed after the king asked him to make his request (2:4). In 4:9 Nehemiah evidently led the people to pray because of the threats of the enemies. Not only did this great leader get many individuals involved in this work, he also invited God to be involved.


There is one other thing that Nehemiah did to enlist others to the great cause: he articulated his burden, rehearsed how the hand of God was on him, and miracles of miracles, they challenged themselves to rise up and build. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. (2:18)


Sometimes all it takes is the Lord, a leader, a well-defined cause, and a group of people willing to do the work. These all working together, well, it’s like the old adage says, “Many hands make light work.”


Dr. William T. Howe

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