Another problem for Nehemiah: 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.
And 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.
Really good lessons: 1) In accomplishing a task, everyone must work together. 2) When challenges arise, pray to the Lord and put into place measures to address the challenge. 3) Fair treatment of all people, particularly within the family of God. 4) It is good when leaders are one with their people, both in their celebrations and in their suffering. 5) A task completed provides a time for celebration and thanksgiving before the Lord. 6) And, perhaps most important of all, lean on the Lord and his strength.
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)