Read Nehemiah 11 -- 12
In Today's Reading:
Residents of Jerusalem; list of priests and Levites who had gone to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel; dedication of the walls; Temple offices restored
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 minority of the people who left Persia to rebuild Jerusalem actually settled inside the city's walls. Most of the Jews lived in suburbs outside the walls where they could grow crops, pasture their animals, and more easily make a living. The leaders of the people resided in Jerusalem. However, there were not enough people living inside Jerusalem to maintain and protect it. So the rest of the people drew lots to choose one family out of every ten to live within Jerusalem's walls (Nehemiah 11:1).
The Israelites could now assemble within the rebuilt walls and worship without fear of their enemies. At the dedication of the wall, the Levites throughout the land were asked to come to Jerusalem to join in the dedication. It was a great day of thanksgiving and singing. On that day, many great sacrifices were offered to God and the people's rejoicing was heard for a great distance (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 purpose.
It is also important for followers of Christ to consider "the walls" that may need to be rebuilt in their own lives, where worldly interests may 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 our time, our talents, or our money from their usefulness to God and from becoming our treasures in heaven. Our hearts will always be where our treasures are (Matthew 6:20-21).
We all want to one day hear our Lord say to us: "Well done. You were faithful in the few things I entrusted to you. Now I will trust you to be in charge of many things." Then we will rejoice together (Matthew 25:21).
By the priests and Levites who purified (sanctified) themselves and the people (Nehemiah 12:30). Christ our High Priest, through His perfect sacrifice, purified His believers by 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).
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 Evangelist Mary Hobbs · The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in memory of Iva Ann McElroy · BPM Staff: Diana Hash · Government Officials: Sen. John Edwards (NC) and Gov. Brad Henry (OK) · Country: Estonia (2 million) northeastern Europe · Major languages: Estonian and Russian · Religious freedom · 38% Protestant; 20% Estonian Orthodox; 1% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Seek the Lord in times of trouble (Matthew 8:24-25).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 12
Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 3:16