The Holy City, Jerusalem, the political capital of the kingdom, the city of David, the center of worship, was nearly empty. Only the leaders live there (Neh. 11:1). Lots were cast to repopulate the city. See the list of "who's who" in Jerusalem (chap. 11), and the returning priests and Levites (chap. 12).
Ordinary people, although not skilled in building walls, had willingly gone to work under Nehemiah's leadership and done the best they could to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.
Only a minority of the people who left Persia to rebuild Jerusalem actually lived inside the city's walls. Most of the Jews lived in suburbs where they could grow crops, pasture their animals, and make a living more easily. Because of this, there were not enough people living in Jerusalem to maintain and protect it. And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city (Neh. 11:1).
The Israelites could now assemble within the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem and worship without fear of their enemies. At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep (observe) the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing. . . . Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy. . . the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off (12:27,43).
The Israelites' worship demonstrated a heartfelt commitment to the Lord in their renewed relationship to Him. Though all true Christians love the Lord, not all are willing to give up personal interests and financial security to do what is needed to accomplish His purposes.
It is no less important for followers of Christ to consider "the walls" which may need to be rebuilt in their own lives where worldly interests have broken through and devastated their zeal for the Lord.
In our Christian walk, we need to be on guard against anything, including good, wholesome activities, which may cause us to divert either our time or our money from their usefulness to God and from becoming treasures in heaven. . . . For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:20-21).
We all will want to hear our Lord say what the earthly master said in the parable of the talents: Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter . . . into the joy of thy lord (Matt. 25:21).
Thought for Today:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us (Rom. 8:35,37).
By the priests and Levites who purified (sanctified) themselves and the people (Neh. 12:30). Christ our High Priest, through His perfect sacrifice, purified His believers by His Word. Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you (John 15:3; 17:17).
11:16 outward business =external business of the Temple; 11:24 was at the king's hand =was advisor, administrator of the king; 12:44 that waited =who officiated, ministered, kept the watches.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Bonnie Wilhite • Staff: Gina Lesnefsky • Government Officials: Gov. Brad Henry (OK) and Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS) • Country: Moldova (4.3 million) southeastern Europe • Major languages: Rumanian and Russian • Limited religious freedom • 66% Russian/Romanian Orthodox; 2.5% Catholic (Greek and Roman); 1.7% Protestant (mainly Baptist); 1.5% Jewish; .2% Muslim; 28.1% Agnostic/Atheist/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Let the Lord have all your worries and cares; He is always thinking about you and things that concern you (I Pet. 5:7).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 12
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 1:7