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Bible Pathways 06/10/2002

June 10

Read Nehemiah 11 -- 12

In Today's Reading:

Residents of Jerusalem; priests and Levites with Zerubbabel; dedication of the walls; Temple offices restored.

Verse for Today:

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. . . . and the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem (11:1-2).

Ordinary people, although not skilled in building walls, willingly went to work under Nehemiah's leadership and did the best they could to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.

Only a few people who left Persia to rebuild Jerusalem lived inside the city 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. Some were chosen by lots while others volunteered to move inside the walled city to meet this need.

They could now assemble within the rebuilt walls of Jerusalem and worship without fear. At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing (Nehemiah 12:27). 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 (12:43).

We again encounter several lists of spiritual leaders to confirm that the priests, the Levites, and those serving in the Temple were qualified according to the Law. No one served because of a popular majority vote of the people. Biblically-qualified leadership is just as essential today.

The Israelites' worship demonstrated a 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" that may need to be rebuilt in their own lives, where worldly interests have broken through and devastated their zeal for the Lord that once stood strong. We are reminded: Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).

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 being useful to God and from becoming treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:20).

Upon the return of our Lord, all of us must give an account of how we spent our lives. May each of us 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 (Matthew 25:21).

Christ Portrayed:

Through the priests and Levites [who] purified (sanctified) themselves, the people, the gates, and the wall (Nehemiah 12:30). Christ, our High Priest, through His perfect sacrifice, purified His believers, who are the Temple of God, by His Word. Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken and by His prayer to the Father: Sanctify them through Your Truth: Your Word is Truth (John 15:3; 17:17).

Word Studies:

11:16 outward business = outside external business; 11:24 was at the king's hand = represented the king; 12:44 that waited = who served, ministered.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Sen. John Edwards (NC) · Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Iceland (272,000) at the northern end of the Atlantic · Major language: Icelandic · Religious freedom · 94% Protestant; 6% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Can you say you are ready for the Lord's coming? (Malachi 3:2).

Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 12

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Timothy 3:16

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