Highlights In Today's Reading:
The Holy City, Jerusalem, the political capital of the kingdom, the city of David, the center of worship, is nearly empty. Only the leaders live there (11:1). Lots are cast to repopulate the city. See the list of "who's who" in Jerusalem (chap. 11), and the returning priests and Levites (chap. 12).
After Babylon was defeated and Cyrus encouraged the Jews to return to Jerusalem, only a comparatively few were willing to forsake personal interests to restore the city of God. The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem happened because ordinary people, although unskilled in building walls, willingly followed Nehemiah's leadership and did the best they could.
After the walls of Jerusalem were completed, only a few people lived inside the city. 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 security and protect it. 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 (11:1). Others volunteered to move inside the walled city.
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).
Though all true Christians love the Lord, not all are willing to give up personal interests and financial securities to do what is needed. Laborers have always been few. So the Lord instructed us: Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest (Luke 10:2). It is no less important for followers of Christ today to consider the walls that need to be rebuilt where worldly interests have devastated the zeal we once had for the Lord. We are reminded: Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1).
Jesus gave a parable to illustrate what we need to do with our opportunities. The Kingdom of Heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability (Matt. 25:14-15). Upon the return of our Lord, all of us must give an account of how we spent our lives. Will we have the joy of hearing Him say: Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord (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 English International Broadcasts in Africa, Europe, & the Middle East sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Casmir Zuranski • English International Broadcasts sponsored by Helayne Abrams • Radio Sri Lanka Broadcasts sponsored by Rena Van Dyke • Staff: George Kopchak • Government Officials: Gov. Brad Henry (OK) and Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS) • Country: Paraguay (5 million) in southern South America • Major languages: Spanish and Guarani • Religious freedom • 96% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray in faith, without doubting (James 1:6).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 12
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:33