Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors, and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed, That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house. – Nehemiah 7:1-3
The work to rebuild the wall was now finished and the work in the temple had begun once again. Therefore, Nehemiah made ready to go back to Persia to give a report to Artaxerxes. He felt comfortable leaving because he had men that he trusted who could hold leadership until he returned.
This was not a blind trust. Hanani was the brother who first gave the report of the condition of Jerusalem to Nehemiah in chapter 1. He has been fully invested in the work from the very beginning. Hananiah had also been diligent in the work to rebuild the walls. Nehemiah trusted these two men to rule in his place while he was gone.
Nehemiah gave these men explicit instructions for the defense of the city. Before leaving, he reminded all those in charge to understand the importance of filling their roles so the city would be safe. He made it very clear that only those who were part of the effort were to be in charge of security, and no outsiders were to be hired to help keep the city safe.
Nehemiah’s example tells us that we can trust people based on our experiences with them. You should not have to ask someone if you can trust them. Their behavior in past experiences with you should be the proof.
Integrity must be proven before trust can be bestowed.
Another important aspect of this account relates to our church experience. Only those who have been actively involved in activities should have influential roles. The lazy nobles were not trusted with leadership because they had not proven themselves. Just because they have money does not mean they have spiritual maturity. Also, no outsiders were allowed to defend the city. The care of our church congregations should be very personal in nature. We can only love and protect those that we know well. That kind of care cannot be hired out to counselors or motivational trainers. The Lord will raise up gifts within the church to care for it.