Summary: It took aching backs and dirty hands to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and it requires the same to continue building up Christ’s church today.

Achin’ Backs & Dirty Hands

I. Introduction

A. Background to the text is Neh. 1-2.

1. Nehemiah gets disturbing news about the condition of Jerusalem.

a.It had lain in ruins for almost a century and a half.

b.He had passion for the Lord! Neh. 1: 4

2. He requested that the King let him go back and the king also sent letters for safe passage and money for purchasing goods needed to restore Jerusalem. Sidebar - He prayed in front of the king before he made his request known. (Neh. 2: 4)

B. Nehemiah sneaks out at night and assesses the damage. Chapt. 3

1. He devises a plan based on his (and God’s) recon. He didn’t allow

himself to be influenced by any native negatism!

2. It is carried out by the remnants left in a 10-50 mi. radius.

a.Jericho was approx. 25-30 mi. away

b.Tekoa was approx. 12 mi. away

c.Zanoah was approx. 50-60 mi. away

d.Gibeon & Mizpah was approx. 20-25 mi. away

e.Beth-haccerem was approx. 30-35 mi. away

f.Keilah was approx. 25-30 mi.away

3. Here we see how they worked together in unison and in tandem. It’s beautiful to see a plan come together.

a.This passage might rival some in Numbers if we didn’t look closer to find the diamond hidden in the rough.

b.Psa. 133: 1

C. The king’s loyalists (on all sides) scorned them. Neh. 4: 7-8

1. Sanballat the Horonite Approx. 10 mi. NW of Jerusalem

2. Tobiah the Ammonite, probably a problem for those from Jericho.

3. Geshem the Arabian supposedly an Edomite. Hebron area would be the closest to Jerusalem. Approx. 50-60 mi.

II. Body

A. Neh. 3: 5 Communities assisted but not all in the communities helped.

1. It’s said that Ezra rebuilt the religious Jerusalem and Nehemiah rebuilt the physical


2. Why? There were plenty other people who had status.

High Priests – Rulers – Pharmacist – Jewelers – Perfume Makers

3. Just a thought: Tekoa seems to be a farming/rural community. Amos was from there; he was a shepherd and a fig seller.

a.Since shepherds were not regarded as “noble” people I wonder if those who were not shepherds felt they might be better.

b. Were they more concerned about keeping things their “status quo” with Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem?

1.Maintaining status quo never allows us to grow or experience grander things.

2.Tekoa (as it was) was nothing compared to the rebuilt Jerusalem but sometime humans are content to be tall hogs at a little bitty troughs.

B. Why would God put emphasis on those who did nothing and allow the real workers to remain anonymous?

1. Rom. 15: 4

2. God has promised that the real workers will be rewarded in due time, not that we will earn it, but that we love God and want to do His will. God knows that He (God) is faithful and He expects us

to have faith in His faithfulness.

C. Application: We should build up the church today by dedicating ourselves to restoring the wayward and bringing in the lost to Jesus.

1. God has management in place today comparable to Neh. and others.

a.Elders, Deacons, etc.

b.The wayward are the ‘fallen” Jerusalem that can be restored.

c.Jo. 13: 12-16

2. Self proclaimed Nobles

a.Many become satisfied with…

1.Who they are

a.What they think they know

b.What they give

c.What others think of them

2.Legends in their own minds!

b.We can be noble workers/followers.

3. Many desire a title rather than an office, which is the scriptural reason. I Tim. 3: 1 (office = WORK ) As we see, a title doesn’t dismiss one from putting his hand to the plough.

D. God loves aching backs and dirty hands.

1. Brains alone will not get us into heaven.

a.II Tim. 3: 7 – expound on biblical head knowledge being worthless without application. II Tim. 2: 15 says, “Study to show thyself approved…” not to show thyself as the silly women in II Tim. 3: 6-7!

b.Prov. 16: 25

2. Jesus, Paul & James hold the recipe for an aching back!


1. Lk. 9: 23 – take up our crosses daily & follow Him

2. Mt. 25: 31-36 – read what separates the sheep & goats


1. Rom. 12: 5&16 – rejoice & weep with & condescend to others

2. I Cor. 9: 22 – be all things to all men

3. Gal. 6: 1-2 – bear one another’s burdens


1. Jas. 1: 27 – visit the orphans and widows

2. Jas. 2: 16 – providing not wishing (don’t pray for some good that you are capable of doing, JUST DO IT!)

d. Personal reference - Being a contractor by trade, I’ve learned(the hard way) sometime you have to put down the telephone and the calculator and pick up your chin and your hammer.

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