Study from God’s Word… Nehemiah, Chapter 7, then 11-12 … Passage for Reflection: Nehemiah 1: 2 … NIV 2 I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.
My Journal for Today: So, I’m reading on in Nehemiah, and in Chapter 6, we read that the walls for the city had been miraculously rebuilt in just 52 days, a remarkable feat; but then again, those of us who know and believe in God Almighty know that nothing is impossible when God has called one to a task. As my mentor used to tell me, “God’s calling will always come with His enablement.”
But what now for Nehemiah, this great leader who’d been called by God to lead a contingency of God’s people back to Jerusalem to rebuild those walls. Well, now that the walls are rebuilt, Nehemiah, being the leader he is, realizes that there is need for organization of the people and to promote resettlement of God’s great city, … the City of David. And so, he feels a second calling on his life … to utilize his obvious spiritual gifts of leadership and administration. Now the task is to get the right people into the city from those who had been living outside the walls and to establish organization and re-establishment of the Jewish traditions of the priesthood and let God’s order prevail again in the Temple city.
So, one of his first orders was to appoint his brother, Hanani, along with one other Jewish leader, Hananiah, as chief of the gatekeepers, which would have been like appointing his brother as the co-sheriff of Jerusalem, a very critical position. But why his brother? Doesn’t this smack of nepotism; and maybe it would, if we didn’t have Nehemiah’s own explanation for the appointment? But it would not be terribly surprising for anyone who knew Nehemiah to realize that he would elevate his brother, Hanani, to a position of leadership, because it had been Hanani who had brought the news of the walls needing repair back to Susa when Nehemiah was the cup-bearer for Artaxerxes (see Neh. 1: 2).
But beyond this emotional and familial connection, Nehemiah, in today’s highlight text tells all that he chose his brother to fill this critical position because of the spiritual integrity of Hanani. And a man in Nehemiah’s position, as Governor of God’s Holy City, being able to trust the integrity of any of the city leaders would have been one of the main criteria for Nehemiah selecting that man into leadership.
And surely we recognize, as did Nehemiah, that he could only trust men in leadership who feared and revered God. And Nehemiah had not only seen how his brother Hanani had traveled all the way from Jerusalem to Susa to bring the news of the broken walls to Nehemiah; but he surely had seen his brother in action while the walls were being rebuilt (though we don’t know all these details). Nehemiah had seen Hanani’s reverence for God in action; and now he needed a man to be an overseer of security for the city; and his brother was an obvious choice.
As Dr. Smith puts it this morning in his devotional, ”One’s lack of integrity begins with one’s lack of a relationship with God. Lying only happens because of what is underlying.” And the opposite is true, of course. One’s veracity and strong moral character are measured by the depth of relationship one has with God Almighty. And Nehemiah knew he could trust his brother because Hanani, as Nehemiah put it, “… feared God more than most men do.” And I’ve learned over years of personal growth and ministerial experience, that one can really only trust the integrity of another who has a deep and abiding relationship with Christ; and that is generally measured the spiritual fruit in his life (see Galatians 5: 22, 23) and the discipline and depth of that believer’s daily devotional life.
So, I repeat the question put forth by Dr. Smith for our personal examination, another of those LOOK IN THE MIRROR questions. He writes, ”Am I a person of such integrity that God Himself could fee comfortable putting me in charge of some special task, however lowly?”
So, let’s look in the mirror of truth and answer that one!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, as Your child, You know I love You and fear You; … so, dear Lord, ... choose me! Send me! I want to serve You in any way YOU desire. Amen