Neh 11 — The Leaders and Villages in Jerusalem
Neh 12 — Priests and Levites, Dedication of the Wall
Neh 13 — Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
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One Reply to “Jul 19 — Nehemiah 11-13”
The dedication complete, Nehemiah now oversees and orderly process for those who are allowed to be residents within Jerusalem and “the people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:2). The tribes of the Southern Kingdom (Judah and Benjamin) are represented, as well as the priests, Levites and even the all important gatekeepers are among those who live in Jerusalem to keep it safe, to maintain the temple and preserve the city for all of the followers of the One True God.
The dedication must have been amazing! “Two large choirs” (12:31), one marching one way and one the other (12:38), “the two choirs that gave thanks then took their places in the house of God” (12:40) so that “the sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away” (12:43). We are called to celebrate, to gather and rejoice so that everyone hears the Good News.
Chapter 13 services as an epilogue to the story, an important note that Nehemiah added to clarify his reaction to a problem that happened which might have undermined Jerusalem, namely an association between Eliashib the priest and Tobiah, one of the regional governors. Nehemiah explains he wasn’t there, “while all this was going on…I had returned to the king” (13:6). He comes back and takes care of the problem: “I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room” (13:8). There were other transgressions noted as well, so Nehemiah straightened our many wrongs by finding trustworthy people to appropriately handle the affairs of Jerusalem. He was not afraid to act, “I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair” (13:25), ouch!! In each case, Nehemiah hopes God will not hold him accountable for their ignorance, “remember me for this also, my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love” (13:22b) and verses like 13:14, 13:29 and the very last line of Nehemiah, “remember me with favor, my God” (13:31b).
Sometimes we establish excellent plans, affirmed by leaders we’ve chosen, but people will be people, there is only so much we can do. In this case, God has Nehemiah stationed with the king in Susa, a long way away, so Nehemiah’s influence is limited. The best he can do is show them the right way, to confirm they understand, then leave it in God’s hands. As leaders (whether formally or not), we have the same responsibility. While I’m not advocating beating people or pulling out their hair, it is important to hold people accountable (as we are willing to be held accountable). The seriousness of our mission is great. Lord help me to discern your will and be the leader you’ve called me to be here today. Help me to inspire new leaders to increase and bring as many people to Christ as possible. And may all the praise, honor and glory be given to you our Lord and our Redeemer.