Another problem comes up for Nehemiah and the people: the mistreatment of the poor by their own people (ch. 5)! With a righteous anger, Nehemiah called a council and demanded fair and right treatment among the people. Nehemiah even gave up the food allowance given him by the governor of the province. If the people were suffering, it was only right that the leader commiserate with his people and forego the luxuries of his office.
Yet, even with the continued opposition of Sanballat (ch. 6), the wall was finished. The tally of those who worked and the tally of all who had contributed was great. Ezra stood up, read the Word of God, and the people repented and called upon the Lord. Nehemiah “brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks” (12:31), the people worshiped at the temple, and final reforms were established.
More really good lessons: 1) Fair treatment of all people is important, particularly within the family of God. 2) It is good when leaders are one with their people, both in their celebrations and in their suffering. 3) A task completed provides a time for celebration and thanksgiving before the Lord who remembers us and carries us through.
O thou from whom all goodness flows,
I lift my soul to thee;
In all my sorrows, conflicts, woes,
Good Lord, remember me.
When trials sore obstruct my way,
And ills I cannot flee,
O let my strength be as my day:
Good Lord, remember me. -- Thomas Haweis (1791)