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Daily Devotional Nehemiah 3:1–32

Have you ever seen Undercover Boss, the reality TV show? In it, a company’s CEO, owner, or other high-ranking employees go undercover to work at an entry-level position in their company. People loved it because, rather than staying in a high tower, the bosses got their hands dirty and saw what it was like to be “normal” employees. Well, the opposite is going on in our passage today.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.


Nehemiah shared God’s work, encouraged the people, and rejected the scorn of naysayers. But it was God’s people who got to work rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. The chapter may seem a bit boring—it simply lists off people and the sections of the wall they rebuilt. It’s kind of like the list of acknowledgments at the back of a book, except that it comes right at the front. But if you take the time to read through the people and the work they did, it’s absolutely fascinating. Everyone went to work including goldsmiths, priests, Levites— people who relied on a wide variety of work to support their families pitched in to rebuild the broken-down wall, towers, and gates surrounding Jerusalem. What could have been a huge almost insurmountable task, became possible when so many contributed. This was an equalizing team effort if there ever was one!

However, verse 5 singles out a group who refused to help: The “nobles [from Tekoa] would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.” They apparently didn’t want to work for a boss other than themselves. They apparently viewed themselves as too important, too powerful, too big to humble themselves and join the rest of God’s people in rebuilding Jerusalem.

>> As Christians, we must resist the temptation to think of ourselves as “better than.” Instead, we should remember that we are all part of one body, and no part is more important than another (see 1 Cor. 12:12–27). What can you do today to develop humility and a heart to serve the Lord in any capacity?

Pray with Us

We need You to foster genuine humility in us; we struggle not to fall into an extreme either of conceit or self-loathing. Rather than trying to manufacture the proper feelings, teach us to dwell on Your glorious nature and to love You.

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