June 10, 2004
Read Nehemiah 11 - 12
In Today's Reading:
Residents of Jerusalem; priests and Levites with Zerubbabel; dedication of the walls; Temple offices restored
Ordinary people, although not skilled in building walls, had willingly gone to work under Nehemiah's leadership and did 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. The rulers of the people dwelled at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city (Nehemiah 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. . . so that 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 today to consider "the walls" that 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 (Matthew 6:20-21).
We all will want to hear our Lord one day to say what the earthly master said in the parable of the talents: Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter . . . into the joy of your lord (Matthew 25:21).
Christ Portrayed:
By the priests and Levites who purified (sanctified) themselves and the people (Nehemiah 12:30). Christ our High Priest, through His Word. The Word of God has the power to cleanse our lives as we read it and then seek to live it (John 15:3; 17:17).
Word Studies:
11:16 outward business = inside the Temple compound, but outside the Temple itself; 11:24 was at the king's hand = represented the king; 12:44 that waited = who served, ministered.
Pray For:
The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Thursday Morning Prayer · Staff: Benjamin Wallace · Government Officials: Sen. John Edwards (NC) and Gov. Brad Henry (OK) · Country: Dominica (65,000) in the British West Indies · Major languages: English and French patois · Religious freedom · 75% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant

Prayer Suggestion: Ask that God's will be done in your life (Luke 22:42).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 12
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 1:16