Hezbollah has triumphed as the only Arab force that fought Israel to a standstill. But its victory will be apparent in other spheres as well. Hezbollah has a well-earned reputation for serving the people of South Lebanon, with an efficient grass-roots social service network. With a social service structure in place and with money donated by Iran, it is already in the forefront of the reconstruction of the country.

In his victory speech on Monday night, Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, offered money for "decent and suitable furniture" and a year’s rent on a house to any Lebanese who lost his home in the month-long war.

"Today is the day to keep up our promises," he said. "All our brothers will be in your service starting tomorrow." As is Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah is considered to be incorruptible and always careful to meet its promises.

Even as the Israelis began their withdrawal, hundreds of Hezbollah members, spread over dozens of villages across southern Lebanon, began cleaning, organizing and surveying damage. Men on bulldozers were busy cutting lanes through giant piles of rubble. Roads blocked with the remnants of buildings are now, just a day after a cease-fire began, fully passable.

Hezbollah’s men were in evidence everywhere. Young men with walkie-talkies and clipboards were in the battered Shiite neighborhoods on the southern edge of Bint Jbail, taking notes on the extent of the damage.

Hezbollah men also traveled door to door in other villages checking on residents and asking them what help they needed.

Although Hezbollah is a Shiite organization, Sheik Nasrallah’s message was addressed to all  Lebanese. Ghaleb Jazi, a Sunni Muslim, who works at the oil storage plant at Jiyeh said, "The government may do some work on bridges and roads, but when it comes to rebuilding houses, Hezbollah will have a big role to play," he said. "Nasrallah said yesterday he would rebuild, and he will come through."

Nehme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country’s minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an "unlimited budget" for reconstruction.

Sheik Nasrallah said in his speech that "the brothers in the towns and villages will turn to those whose homes are badly damaged and help rebuild them".

Some southern towns were so damaged that on Tuesday residents had not yet begun to return. A fighter for the Amal movement, another Shiite militia group, said he had been told that Hezbollah members would begin to catalog damages in his town, Kafr Kila, on the Israeli border.

Sheik Nasrallah’s speech was interpreted by some as a kind of watershed in Lebanese politics, establishing his group on an equal footing with the official government.

Rami G. Khouri, a columnist for The Daily Star in Beirut, wrote that Sheik Nasrallah "seemed to take on the veneer of a national leader rather than the head of one group in Lebanon’s rich mosaic of political parties."

"In tone and content, his remarks seemed more like those a president or a prime minister should be making while addressing the nation after a terrible month of destruction and human suffering," Mr. Khouri wrote. "His prominence is one of the important political repercussions of this war."