The exile of Israel and Judah took place in stages over an extended period of time. The same can be said about the restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land. The renewal of Jerusalem required the return of the people, the rebuilding of the temple, the construction of a new wall, and many other necessary steps that would bring order to this important city. This all took place “in the days of” various religious and civil leaders. Key figures in each of the stages of recovery for God’s people were listed here in Nehemiah for the consideration of posterity.
This multigenerational endeavor would have been very incomplete without the reinstitution of worship in Jerusalem. God had given regulations through Moses and had later used David to grant further definition to the worship that would take place in the temple that Solomon would one day build. The people returning to Jerusalem wanted to see the designated Levites in their places praising and giving thanks to God according to the pattern that the Lord had given through David. That good goal required much careful work.
Worship was central to the dedication of the new wall that provided security to the city. All those who were involved sought to be ceremonially pure, and they looked for God to use them to purify “the people and the gates and the wall.” Musical leaders were put in place to sing and to play instruments. Great sacrifices were offered to the Lord. Women and children joined the men in their worship. “God had made them rejoice with great joy.” The sound of their celebration was heard far away.
The accomplishments of the leaders over these decades went beyond one day of thanksgiving and praise. All of the infrastructure that was necessary to support the ongoing vibrant worship of Israel was put in place. Good order was a fruit of the diligent work of leaders like Nehemiah and those who had come before them.
The Lord Jesus is building up His church in our day. It is a multigenerational project requiring much sacrifice and dedication. He uses many hands and many voices to get the job done. The church throughout the world is greatly blessed through the variety of gifts that people offer to the Lord. As we seek to do a great work of truth, order, and beauty, our confidence is in Christ and not in ourselves. The work is beyond us, and there is much to be done in every era of our lives together. Our confidence is not in our own intelligence or ability. We believer in our great Leader. He will do it.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, we are not alone. Thank You for the priesthood of all who believe. We have been given access to the Holy of Holies in Christ. We sing for joy as we worship You even now. You have not left us as orphans. You have given us a testimony, a hope, and a true presence. Thank You for our families and for this assembly of love that You have granted us together in Your church. We are not alone. You are with us now. You will be with us forever. Where You are, You are surely not alone. Hear our praise as we sing to You, joining our voices to those who praise You above. What great music there must be in Your presence day by day! What a wonderful celebration is coming when Your choir on earth will finally hear the voices of those who sing Your praises above. We rejoice in You. We look for the appearing of the Jerusalem that is above. We give of our substance with the great hope of a new day, and we thank You most sincerely for all that You have promised to Your people.