I’ll admit it.
I can be just a teensy bit compulsive about my daily to-do list.
Could this be why it does my heart good to see that God has included lists in the Bible? Chapters eleven and twelve of Nehemiah are, essentially, a series of lists: leaders (v. 3); members of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (vv. 4-9); priests (vv. 10-14); Levites (vv. 15-18). Even the gatekeepers get mentioned (v. 19).
Then, as God’s people re-convene within the safe circumference of covenant, it is time to mark the solemnness of the occasion. Nehemiah 12:31-39 describes the dedication of the newly built wall. Two thanksgiving choirs led by Ezra and Nehemiah, moving in opposite directions, marched in procession on the wall and assembled in the temple Take that, Tobiah! (He’s the critic who said in Nehemiah 4:3 even the weight of a fox would make the wall crumble!) This procession on the wall was no loosey-goosey, make-it-up-as-you-go-along affair. Israel was beginning to institute worship practices required by Law in the Pentateuch, and they were setting things in order to make sure that it would continue to happen. Who will oversee the storehouse for the offering of firstfruits and tithes? Who will see to it that the singers and the gatekeepes are cared for? Who will make sure that the priests and Levites have what they need? In verse 47 we find that “all Israel” was involved in the giving and in the preparation.
This speaks into our lives today, because we are reminded that God cares about the details. He cares about order. Even in creation, God’s care and creativity are evident in every phase, bringing the universe from a “formless void” to a riot of color and diversity, delicate beauty and bold wonder. If the people of Israel during Nehemiah’s day put care and attention into their worship, how much more attentive should we be today since we are part of a living organism, the church?
I challenge you, today, to take some time with Nehemiah 12:31-39 and a good map of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day. (Here’s a link if you need one: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/552957660469183703/.) Follow the thanksgiving choirs, tracking their progress around the city in your imagination. What were they singing? Well, we don’t really know for sure, but flip over a few pages to Psalm 48:
“Walk about Zion,
And go all around her.
Count her towers;
Mark well her bulwarks;
Consider her palaces;
That you may tell it to the generation following.
For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death.
The Psalm starts out with a burst of praise, and I don’t now if this is the psalm that was sung on the day for the dedication of the city, but it certainly works for me on this day. Join the faithful remnant! Give thanks to God for His mercy and grace in your own life!
This is the twenty-fourth (and next-to-the-last!) in a series of posts in which I ponder Just One Thing each week from my study of the book of Nehemiah, travelling slowly and thoughtfully through the chapters with my Sunday School class. If you’d like to make a comment or leave a link to your own blog post about your wall-building stories, I’d love to read it. If you want to catch up with previous posts, here’s the link: https://michelemorin.wordpress.com/tag/nehemiah/.
I link up with these communities on a regular basis: Soli Deo Gloria Connections, Inspire Me Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tell His Story, Coffee for Your Heart, Live Free Thursdays, Faith-Filled Fridays, Grace and Truth, Fellowship Friday, Still Saturday, The Weekend Brew, Sunday Stillness, Faith and Fellowship, Blessing Counters, Women with Intention, Sharing His Beauty, Monday Musings, Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday.
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