Have you ever considered Nehemiah 3? Go and at least look it over. Here, in the midst of the historical account of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, we have a chapter that may feel random. Yet, this is important enough that God decided it should be recorded for us. Why would Nehemiah choose to pause his account and name all these random individuals?
I think that a main point we can draw from this is by looking at the various backgrounds of these people named. In v.1, we see the high priest; v.2, those from Jericho, of all places. v.7’s Gibeon and Mizpah are of a similar, negative report—remember the contexts of Joshua 9:3-6 and Judges 11:34 or 20:1 if you want some reminders—yet, these people join in Nehemiah’s work anyway. Goldsmiths and perfumers (v.8) worked alongside city officials (v.9). All these and more join together in the work of building up the wall of the Lord’s city.
So what does that have to do with us today? What could we apply it to, from our lives? Why did God consider this so important that He wanted it recorded?
Priests, perfumers, politicians: what do they have in common? Not much, as far as I know, but they had God. These people wanted to share in this project that would benefit all of the people of Israel. Differing backgrounds, different training, (presumably) different interests and all, yet they choose to work together. Why? Because God’s work is more important than their differences.
Under God, we—as His people—should be united. We have a great job we are to do, so what could our excuse be for not doing it? Nehemiah 3 reminds us that anyone who wants to work for God is able to do so, side by side, working on the same project harmoniously. Anyone who has a “mind to work” (as Nehemiah mentions in 4:6) is allowed to join in and contribute. Should we not then seek to build together, for God?