Nehemiah 11:1–36 Joining God's Great Army of the Unknowns
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Most people live their lives in obscurity. Few become famous during their lifetime, and fewer remain famous after they are gone. After all, God has called us to be faithful, not famous. After Nehemiah rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem, his next task was to convince people to move inside the walls, into the “inner city.” What took place in Nehemiah 11 was the first “urban development plan” in history. Nehemiah 11 is a listing of names of people who were necessary for the success of the city, but unknown to anyone else. Three groups moved into the city: (1) Leaders (v. 1). (2) Draftees (v. 1). (3) Volunteers (v. 2). This last group deserves attention. The Hebrew word volunteered means to impel, or to incite from within. These volunteers symbolize God’s army of the great unknowns, the kind of solid people who fill every good and thriving church, people who toil behind the scenes without any credit, with no other desire than to serve. These volunteers teach us a simple truth: God calls us to be faithful, not famous.Five unknowns from Nehemiah 11 serve as our example.