Lord's Day Evening Meditations March
"To Every Man His Work"
Before continuing with the details of chapter three
I would like to review some thoughts on the significance of the
wall. Look again at last week's outline of the three enemies and
what the Lord has provided as protection from them.
1) Are we walking in the power of the Holy Spirit?
That doesn't mean speaking in tongues and doing miracles. There
is a very simple way to determine if we are walking "in
the Spirit" or not. "The fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance (self-control)." Gal. 5:22, 23.
The presence or absence of this fruit determines whether we are
walking in the Spirit or not. If the fruit of the Spirit is not
there, then the opposite will be seen - "the works of
the flesh" listed in verses 19 - 21.
2) Are the things of the Lord, divine things, so
real and precious to us that things around us here have no power
3) Are we characterized as being a people to whom
the Word of God is all-important, who spend our Lord's Days and
spare time in the enjoyment of that Book?
In the light of these questions, I think that we
will realize that our wall is in need of repair. "Let
us rise up and build." But there is another aspect
in which the wall is instructive for us. That wall made a clear
separation between God's people inside and those who were not
God's people outside. In other words, the wall represents the
separation of God's people from the world. Moses asked the Lord
to go with them, for, he said, "so shall we be separated,
I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of
the earth." Exod. 33:16. That is what God wanted then,
and what He still wants now - a distinct people, set apart for
The subject of separation is a very important one,
and one that we need to understand correctly. There are some things
that separation does not mean. 1) It does not mean isolation.
Hermits would cut themselves off from all contact with people,
thinking that in this way they could lead holy lives, not realizing
that they brought their worst enemy, self, with them into their
isolation. Besides the Lord could have taken us home the day He
saved us, but no, in His prayer He says, "As Thou hast
sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the
world." John 17:18. Actually, having returned to heaven,
He has left us in His place down here during His absence.
2) Separation does not mean superiority. The Jews
maintained a very superior attitude to the Samaritans, such that
"the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans"
(and a brother once added, "but God does.")
3) Separation is not an attitude of arrogance like
some in the time of the prophet Isaiah who said, "Stand
by thyself, come not near me; for I am holier than thou."
Isa. 65:5. That attitude was very obnoxious to God. Actually,
if you put those three things together, do you know what you have?
You have a Pharisee. What may have begun with a right desire and
intention became simply the activity of the flesh, something totally
contrary to the Lord's will.
So is there a way of knowing what God's thoughts
are on this matter of being "separated" to Him? Yes,
there is. He has given us a perfect example of it in the Person
of His own dear Son. Follow the Lord Jesus in His life down here
and you will see a Man perfectly separated unto God, according
to the Divine standard. Yet there was no man more available to
answer to every human need and misery. He was there in the midst
of "publicans and sinners", much to the disgust
of the self-righteous Pharisees. He was "meek and lowly
in heart", the humblest Man that walked this earth,
not too busy or self-important to stop at the cry of a poor blind
beggar. Though He was "holier" than all who
surrounded Him, yet He drew near to sinners to meet their needs
and the misery that their sins had brought upon them. Mind you,
He never condoned their sin; He never went with them in it, nor
allowed Himself to be defiled by it. He maintained a perfect abhorrence
of sin, all the while manifesting a perfect love to the poor miserable
sinner. In all lowliness and humility He could say, "I
do always those things that please Him (His Father)."
John 8:29. He is the perfect example that is set before us; the
One Whom we are left here to represent and to make known the love,
truth, and salvation of God. How wonderful it would be if we,
as individuals, and as a company, could be recognized as being
As we look at those recorded as doing each their
share in the rebuilding of the wall, I want to give a reminder
of what we had in Mark 13:34 - "to every man his work."
As members of the body of Christ we each have a function and a
responsibility to fulfill. Romans 12:4 - 8 gives some examples
of different types of work to be done to meet the needs of the
members of the body. A word addressed to the conscience, a little
instruction in the Word, some encouragement to one who is down,
a gift to help in a moment of need, a reassurance of love and
concern to one who has fallen into sin (without making light of
the sin), these are all things that present themselves as occasions
of service to different ones. When each does his or her part,
what remarkable things are accomplished, as in the example before
us! The wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt in record time.
The account begins in chapter 3 with Eliashib and
the priests building the sheep gate. Outwardly their work seemed
well done, but that gate was not fitted with locks and bars. Why
was that? Well, we find in chapter 13:4 that "Eliashib
… was allied unto Tobiah," one of the enemy leaders.
He was in league with the enemy! Besides, one of his grandsons
"was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite,"
(ch. 13:28) so that Eliashib had connections with both enemy leaders!
No wonder he didn't put locks and bars on his gate! This is very
sad when we further realize that Eliashib was the grandson of
Jeshua (Neh. 12:10), a man on record, in the beginning of the
Book of Ezra, as being faithful. Do any of us have grandparents
who were faithful believers? Are we following in their footsteps,
or are we turning traitor like Eliashib?
In verse 2 we find "the men of Jericho"
building. This is commendable, for they had their own city to
work on, but they put their own interests aside for a time in
order to help in the work of the Lord. In Phil. 2:21 Paul wrote
how "all seek their own (things), not the things of Jesus
Christ." We must not neglect our duties and responsibilities,
but what about the Lord's work?
We come now to verse 5 where "the Tekoites
repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of
their Lord." Apparently, these "nobles"
were too proud to lower themselves to do manual labour, and it
is on record in the Word of God, to their shame. Notice that it
is not "the work of the Lord," but "the
work of their Lord." This makes it particularly
striking that they refused to render this service to their own
Master. Compare this with Priscilla and Aquila who, wrote Paul,
"have for my life laid down their own necks."
Rom. 16:4. There was a couple who were not afraid to put "their
necks to the work of their Lord."
In the next verses we find goldsmiths, apothecaries
(druggists) (v. 8), and a ruler (v. 9) working on the wall. They
were what we might term upper-class, white-collar workers, but
here they are, hauling rock and mixing cement. Verse 12 is very
interesting, for it tells of Shallum, another ruler, "he
and his daughters" faithfully building. This is the
only mention in this chapter of women working on the wall, and
it shows us how the Lord appreciated this work of the "daughters"
with their father. "To every man his work"
includes the ladies also. We find this in Romans 16 where Phebe,
Mary, and others are commended for their labour for the Lord and
His people. In Luke 8:1 - 3 we find "certain women"
who followed the Lord and His disciples and "ministered
unto Him of their substance." What a valuable service
they rendered to the Lord! S.L.