Walls were destroyed. The people lived in exile for many years and had returned to ruins. The newly rebuilt, finally finished Temple stood unprotected and vulnerable. Morale was at an all-time low. The news that came to Nehemiah was more than he could hide. Serving in the citadel of Shushan he efficiently performed the function of a cupbearer to the Persian King.
By Terry R. Baughman
Walls were destroyed. The people lived in exile for many years and had returned to ruins. The newly rebuilt, finally finished Temple stood unprotected and vulnerable. Morale was at an all-time low. The news that came to Nehemiah was more than he could hide. Serving in the citadel of Shushan he efficiently performed the function of a cupbearer to the Persian King. It was impossible to put on the pretense that all was well in the audience of his master, King Artaxerxes. When asked the reason his cheerless countenance, he unburdened his heart and bared his passion to rebuild the walls of protect ion around his beloved city, Jerusalem.
Miraculously, the King volunteered men, money, and materials to initiate the action. Now under royal appointment, Nehemiah rejoiced and planned the project.
Imagine a Persian king being willing to give finance and materials to rebuild walls for his subject’s sacred city. This was an act of grace. It is no wonder that in the book of Nehemiah names of men gave recognition to the grace of God. Occasioned by bondage and surrounded by oppression, the faithful named their children: Hanun, Hanani, Hanan, and Hananiah. These men grew to maturity and lived up to their names. Each name reflects the character of grace, and grace built the walls.
Hanun means “Gracious.” One man by this name coordinated the efforts of the people of Zanoah to repair the refuse gate in the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:13). It takes a lot of grace to repair the dung gate!
Another of the same name assisted in the repair of the wall of Jerusalem on the east side (Nehemiah 3:30). Grace precedes the building of the walls and then dirties his hands with the work of construction.
Hanani also means “Gracious.” Nehemiah’s brother was named Hanani and he was appointed governor of .lerusalem and given charge of the city gates when Nehemiah returned to the Persian palace (Nehemiah 7:2). Ile was the one who originally reported the condition of the walls of Jerusalem to Nehemiah in Shushan (Nehemiah
Grace cares about the condition of the fallen and cries for restoration. While others grew callous to the condition, grace shared the sad story and sought a solution. After the walls were restored, grace guarded the gates.
Another with the name of Hanani, a priest, was the chief musician under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 12:36). He was charged with leading worship and giving thanks in the dedication of the walls after their completion (Nehemiah 12:27-43).
It was “all hands on deck” as the construction culminated in a grand celebration. Grace participated in the purging of sanctification, then thanksgiving and dedication. Grace leads the worship that brings hearts together and encourages those in the labor of love.