Nehemiah 7 has a change of leadership with the appointment of Hanani and Hananiah. Nehemiah wasn’t in this for political glory. He had done a work, and now he could let it go. God would still use him in Jerusalem, but he knew it wasn’t his place to stay in authority. He hands off oversight to these two men, whom he called “a more faithful and God-fearing man than many”. Hanani is Nehemiah’s brother and was the one who first told him about the sad state of affairs in Jerusalem. His initiative and concern made him well qualified to govern.
We need to remember that many folks who aren’t all that gifted – they can’t sing, they can’t remember a bunch of Bible verses, they don’t have a knack for teaching, and so forth – can still be used greatly of God if they are faithful and fear God. On the other hand, many terribly gifted people may always be frustrated in serving God, if they are not faithful and fearing God. Nehemiah gives guidance “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot”. He reminds the people that the enemy is still alive and well outside the gates.
He also tells them to “appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their guard posts and some in front of their own homes”. In the Christian life, often a victory is won and later lost because there was no guard. An enemy may come in because we are not watching. Walls can be climbed if there is no one there to stop the enemy, but an enemy is easily turned back from a wall by a guard. Nehemiah has helped put a plan in place to protect the city now that is is rebuilt.
But he notices more. Now that the walls were rebuilt, Nehemiah still wanted to see how he can be a blessing to the people of God and the city of God. He noticed that the population was low and there were many abandoned houses. He takes count of those inside the city, and sees a low population and not a lot of work done to the homes inside the walls. The walls weren’t all that important; what was important was the benefit the walls could have in the lives of God’s people enabling them to live in peace and security.