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Make the first thing first

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | October 31, 2023 | Nehemiah 3:1-2


Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They dedicated it and set its doors in place, building as far as the Tower of the Hundred, which they dedicated, and as far as the Tower of Hananel. Nehemiah 3:1


At first glance, Nehemiah chapter 3 might appear to be a boring account of who did what in the reconstruction. However, a closer look highlights how the people worked together. Two things stand out from this chapter. First, they all worked together for a common goal. Second, all of them are commended for being part of the work, not for how much or little they did as compared to others. In today’s passage, we realize that the first people to be allocated a portion were the priests who were given the task of repairing the Sheep Gate, which was the place through which the sheep would be brought as a sacrificial offering to the Lord. Eliashib and the rest of the priests were leaders in Israel. They were men who led Israel by example. They not only built the Sheep Gate but also consecrated it, and this teaches us that in our daily lives, it is essential to consecrate our actions and endeavours to God. As we engage in service, we should do it with a heart dedicated to Him, acknowledging that all our efforts are for His glory. When godly and wise leaders set an example and serve as role models, the results produce much fruit.

The rebuilding of the Sheep Gate was of a high priority to the people of Israel and the utmost importance in their worship of God. Rebuilding the Sheep Gate was the starting point of the whole reconstruction work. In essence, their first project was to bring proper worship back to Jerusalem. The sheep gate speaks to us of the cross and the sacrifice that was made for our sins by Jesus. It is the starting point of everything, but we will also notice if you read the entire chapter, that the sheep gate is again mentioned at the very end once we have come full circle. That is because everything starts and ends with Jesus' death on the cross. This gate points to the fact that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). We are no longer called to offer up animals as sacrifices for worship, but we are called to offer our lives instead, as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).


How meaningful is your worship of the King of kings? What is your number one priority in your faith journey? What is your involvement in the work of God’s kingdom? The realization that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world is the very first experience we come into in our Christian life, that will result in consecration of life and service to God. Let this be the first thing and your number one priority.


Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that you came to build the kingdom of God through the transformation of lives. Help me to identify any broken wall in life as I reflect on the rebuilding of the Sheep Gate. Grant me the grace to surrender to your will and authority so that life and service will be my worship to reflect your glory. For your dear name’s sake, Amen. THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSINGS. SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!!


DAILY word study: DEDICATED The Hebrew word for "dedicated" in this context is "חָנַךְ" (chanak). It carries the idea of initiating or consecrating something for a sacred purpose.

The term "dedication" is often used in the Old Testament concerning the consecration of places, especially in the context of the dedication of the temple or specific gates, as seen in this verse.

A close examination of the word "Dedicated" in our key verse reveals noteworthy insights.

  1. Spiritual Significance: The act of dedicating the Sheep Gate and the towers underscores the spiritual significance attributed to these structures. It emphasizes the recognition of God's presence and guidance in the rebuilding process.

  2. Leadership Involvement: The involvement of Eliashib and the priests highlights the importance of spiritual leaders in the practical aspects of communal life. They are not merely spiritual guides but actively engage in the restoration of the city.

  3. Setting Apart for God's Purposes: Dedication involves setting apart something for God's purposes. It prompts reflection on how we consecrate various aspects of our lives, spaces, and endeavours to align with God's will.


How can we practically incorporate the concept of dedication in our lives, recognizing and consecrating various aspects for God's purposes, just as the Sheep Gate and Towers were dedicated in Nehemiah's time?

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