Today’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 11:1 through Nehemiah 12:26
As I read today’s passage, my western mindset was surprised that most Jews of that day did not want to live in the Holy City.
Here are 3 Reasons the Holy City Wasn’t Their Neighborhood of Choice:
- Because a greater strictness of conversation was expected from the inhabitants of Jerusalem than from others, which they were not willing to come up to.
- Because Jerusalem, of all places, was most hated by the heathen their neighbors, and against it their malicious designs were leveled, which made that the post of danger (as the post of honor usually is) and therefore they were not willing to expose themselves there.
- Because it was more for their worldly advantage to dwell in the country. Jerusalem was no trading city, and therefore there was no money to be got there by merchandise, as there was in the country by corn and cattle. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible
In Nehemiah 7:4-5, God gave Nehemiah an idea to get the population up and the houses rebuilt. In today’s reading we see that idea:
The leaders of the people were living in Jerusalem, the holy city. A tenth of the people from the other towns of Judah and Benjamin were chosen by sacred lots to live there, too, while the rest stayed where they were. And the people commended everyone who volunteered to resettle in Jerusalem. –Nehemiah 11:1-2
Some of these citizens volunteered willingly while others had to be “drafted” (Neh. 11:1–2). The people had promised to tithe their produce (10:37–38), so Nehemiah decided to tithe the people; and 10 percent were chosen by lot to move from the villages into Jerusalem.
In today’s world most churches are in critical need of volunteers to work in all areas of ministry. You would think that people who have been redeemed, rescued, and know the Lord would be thrilled to serve in any capacity. But most don’t…
- Because leaders are held to a higher standard and most are not willing to come up to that standard.
- Because being a leader puts a target on our backs for criticism and judgment by family, co-workers, and friends.
- Because being a leader takes time, energy, and money and most would rather use those valuable resources for their own personal wealth and pleasure.
The reasons why today’s church is low on volunteers are very similar to the reasons Nehemiah was having trouble getting the Jews to move back to Jerusalem.
Never underestimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place where God wants you. You may not be asked to perform some dramatic ministry, but simply being there is a ministry. The men, women, and children who helped to populate the city of Jerusalem were serving God, their nation, and future generations by their step of faith.
Heavenly Father, help us to commit to serving others through our local church. Holy Spirit, show us how our talents, gifts, and time could make an eternal difference in the lives of people who don’t know you. Jesus, stir us up, make us aware of the needs of a lost world. Use us for Your Glory.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen.
© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 12:27 – 13:6; Nehemiah 5:14-19; Nehemiah 13:7-21; Malachi 1:1 – 2:9