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How would you be remembered?

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | November 2, 2023 | Nehemiah 3:3-5


The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors. Nehemiah 3:5 (NIV)


The people of the city of Tekoa were more than willing to work – but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord. For the most part, people joined in – but not everybody. These nobles from the city of Tekoa thought they were above the hard work, so they didn’t join in. Literally, the idea in Hebrew is that they wouldn’t submit – they would not “bend their necks” to what the Lord wanted them to do. The real issue was submission. Maybe they thought they had a better plan, maybe they didn’t like how Nehemiah was doing it. Whatever their reason, you can be sure they later regretted it because they stand in disrepute as the only people mentioned in this chapter who did not join in the work. Perhaps Nehemiah wanted to record the names of each of these nobles, but the Lord gave him the mercy to refer to them in only a general way.

In Nehemiah 3, we have a long list of those who stooped. They put their hand to the work to see the City of Jerusalem protected, especially the Temple foundation. Men like those of Jericho, Zaccur, the sons of Hassenaah, Meremoth, Meshullam, and Zadok, along with many others, sought the welfare of their land. These men were nobles, leaders, and men of rank. As these leaders stooped, no doubt, in turn, did all those in their clan, whether family or servants. These stooping leaders were not forgotten leaders. The Tekoites stooped but not their nobles. These nobles are not memorialized in Nehemiah’s list. We’ll never know who they were. We’ll always know about the Tekoites. They are the ones who went on to repair a second section of the wall (Neh. 3:27). They went above and beyond others. We’ll always remember these humble servants, but all we’ll know of their nobles is that they were proud men, too proud to stoop and to serve. Leaders who don’t stoop are forgotten.


How would you be remembered? Where would you fit if you were in this story? The Sons of Hassenaah (v.3) built the Fish Gate, where are you working? Bury your pride and get ready to serve loyally so that you will be memorialized. Don’t be like the nobles of Tekoa who stood to watch while the others worked and they were forgotten forever.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times that I have been taken over by pride and insubordination. May your grace be a shield against arrogance and self-righteousness, and may your strength empower me to walk in humility, always seeking to do your will. Let me be a good example to others in everything I do. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.



DAILY word study: NOBLES The Word in Hebrew word "אַדִּירִ֖ים" (addirim - Nobles) refers to individuals of high rank, often associated with leadership, authority, or prominence within a community.

In the Bible, it is used to represent:

  • Leadership and Authority: Nobles in biblical contexts were figures of authority and leadership. They often held positions of influence within their communities.

  • Responsibility and Service: While nobles were privileged, they were also expected to bear responsibilities, including contributing to communal endeavours. Their refusal to engage in the repair work in Nehemiah 3:5 is noteworthy.

  • Social Dynamics: The interaction between the general populace and nobles sheds light on the social dynamics of the community. The refusal of nobles to participate may indicate discord or a lack of unity.

Our study of the word NOBLES in Nehemiah 3:5 reveals some important lessons about leadership:

  1. Balancing Privilege and Responsibility: The reluctance of Tekoa's nobles prompts reflection on the balance between privilege and responsibility. In leadership, there is a call to actively engage in the well-being of the community.

  2. Unity in Community Building: The narrative underscores the importance of unity in communal projects. A division between the general population and the nobles hinders the overall progress and success of the community.

  3. Leadership Accountability: Leaders, even in positions of nobility, bear a responsibility to serve and contribute to the welfare of the community. This narrative challenges us to assess our roles and responsibilities in the various communities we are part of.


How can leaders, recognizing their positions of influence, actively engage in serving and contributing to the well-being of the communities they are a part of, fostering unity and shared responsibility in communal endeavours?

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