The Passage: Nehemiah 3:5, 27
The Point: The motivation to work is obedience.
Tekoa was south of Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 3:5 and 3:27, we read how the common Tekoans repair two sections of the wall. What stands out is the fact that Tekoa did not receive protection from the walls they helped rebuild. They were Israelites who wanted to see Jerusalem protected again. While the commoners of Tekoa were doing the back-breaking work of repairing the wall, the Tekoite nobility refused to help.
The Bible does not give explicit reasons why the nobility refused to help. Perhaps they disliked Nehemiah’s leadership style or thought the work was a fool’s errand. Maybe they were lazy. All the Bible says is they “would not stoop to serve their Lord.” The language here suggests they were disobeying God by refusing to submit to Nehemiah’s leadership. Obeying Nehemiah was equal to obeying God because God chose Nehemiah to lead this work. Obedience to Nehemiah was obedience to God.
The issue is not whether the nobility liked or agreed with Nehemiah. The issue was their position before God. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls…” God provided a leader whom they refused to follow. Consider the many people involved in the rebuilding effort. There was likely at least one brash Israelite who thought he could do better yet still submitted to Nehemiah’s leadership. Obedience to God is always a challenge for believers. We like to do things our way. The Bible is clear however that God works through leaders whom He chooses. When God-appointed leaders are providing biblical direction, we obey Him by submitting to their leadership. Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” We can choose to humbly submit to God by humbly following the leaders He has appointed to direct the work to which He has called us.
- Why does Nehemiah mention the nobles’ refusal to work?
- How do you think the Tekoites responded to their nobles’ refusal to work?
- What motivated the Tekoites to rebuild walls for which they received no protection?
- Is following church leadership ever a problem for you? Why or why not?
- How can you show support for those God has appointed to lead you?