Gatekeepers . . .

Vol.5, No. 35 – September 13, 2020

Effectively handling the Problems Life BringsNehemiah 11:19

The gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon, and their brothers, who kept watch at the gates, were 172. –Nehemiah 11:19

Two names are mentioned; however, 170 are not mentioned by name. Have you ever noticed the large number of times the Bible discusses remarkable lessons drawn from people whose names are never mentioned? We know nothing about them, except for their contribution or exploits.

We have an example of this in the heart of Arlington Cemetery, Washington, D.C., The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Remarkable lesson; no name. Who is this soldier? Where did this soldier live? What was this soldier’s rank? Unknown, but not forgotten.

At the heart of many of life’s stories has been the obscure, the concealed, and the secret. Unknown, but well-known. We give homage to quiet, methodical people whose stories are never in the headlines. They are men and women with lives that are hidden.

Biblical unknowns:

  1. Shepherds at the birth of Christ
  2. A little boy producing the “lunch” that fed 5000
  3. The widow that gave all she had for an offering
  4. The father who opened his arms to the prodigal
  5. The thief that died next to Jesus; who is he and the location of his tomb

These are nameless; however, they are well-known to God. So are the “volunteers” in the 11th chapter of Nehemiah.

  1. 468 stalwart descendants of Perez
  2. 968 descendants of Gabbai and Sallai
  3. 822 priests doing the work at the Temple
  4. 242 priests under the leadership of Adaiah
  5. 128 stalwart men under the leadership of Amashsai
  6. 284 Levites in Jerusalem
  7. 172 gatekeepers . . .

Andrew Jackson (Old Hickory), during the Civil War (that, in fact, was not very civil), is said to be a man’s man, a natural fighter, a born leader of men. One of his great qualities proved to be the ability to judge the worth of a man around him. Jackson, surely, would want to know these who surrounded Nehemiah. Jackson was heard to only admire those who had guts; he hated weaklings, compromisers, double-dealers, scalawags, lightweights, milksops, and cowards. (I am not sure what some of those are; I would have to look up the meanings.)

In Nehemiah’s crew, there are no movers and shakers mentioned, simply anonymous servants doing the necessary tasks. Yet they were a significant force. Akkub and Talmon teach us some valuable lessons.

  1. Your gift and contribution makes you valuable to God, so it is not necessary for your name to be known in the presence of people
  2. God needs willing foot soldiers
  3. Our body is made up of a unity of unlikes, but each unlike is essential to the functioning of the body
  4. We need each other from top to bottom—and the top needs the bottom almost more that the bottom needs the top

Life Application

We should pause to consider that it is God, who has formed us, and He has a purpose and a plan for our contribution to lives of others. We may not think it important to be a big toe; however, a body cannot walk very well without a big toe.

Guess I should be glad to have a ministry [or for those who work, a job and a ministry].

God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. –1 Corinthians 12:25-26

Handling effectively the problems and opportunities, that life brings!

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

September 13, 2020

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