“3 These are the provincial leaders who settled in Jerusalem (now some Israelites, priests, Levites, temple servants and descendants of Solomon’s servants lived in the towns of Judah, each on their own property in the various towns, 4 while other people from both Judah and Benjamin lived in Jerusalem):From the descendants of Judah:Athaiah son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, a descendant of Perez; 5 and Maaseiah son of Baruch, the son of Kol-Hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, a descendant of Shelah. 6 The descendants of Perez who lived in Jerusalem totaled 468 men of standing.7 From the descendants of Benjamin:Sallu son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jeshaiah, 8 and his followers, Gabbai and Sallai—928 men. 9 Joel son of Zikri was their chief officer, and Judah son of Hassenuah was over the New Quarter of the city” NIV
Matthew Henry explains:
‘Many of the children of Judah and Benjamin dwelt there; for, originally, part of the city lay in the lot of one of those tribes, and part in that lot of the other; but the greater part was in the lot of Benjamin, and therefore here we find of the children of Judah only 468 families in Jerusalem (v.6), but of Benjamin 928, v.7,8.’
Note the expression ‘’able men’’ (6b). It is also used in (14). One thing we can be sure of: they didn’t all have the same abilities, but they were all able. If you’re going to build something significant under God’s leadership, and if you’re going to have to build in the middle of a battle, while you are under attack, it will take the combined abilities of a team to get things done.
In my understanding, the whole church is made up of men and women, children and young people who are ‘’able’’. They are able because God has blessed them (and blesses others through them) with abilities. When everyone plays their part the church grows. (Ephesians 4: 15,16)
As someone observed, the church is not a cruise liner in which we lie back and relax as ‘passengers’. No, it is a warship at battle stations, and we are all ‘crew’.
You didn’t move into Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day to enjoy an easy life. But as people pulled their weight, using what God had invested in them, the city was built in spite of strong opposition.
PRAYER: Lord, I want to offer to you afresh the abilities you have given me, that, in the power of your Spirit, and in collaboration with my brothers and sisters, I may play my special part on your Building site.