每日诗歌: 人子 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0W7js3z5PM)
Nehemiah 12 [Read]
Nehemiah 13 [Read]
Acts 4:23-37 [Read]
The book of Nehemiah is commonly used to teach godly leadership, and people use Nehemiah as an example of success in doing God’s work. He was assertive, resourceful, prudent, and persistent. Through his gallant effort, the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt. This is indeed the picture we get if we don’t read the last chapter. Why didn’t the author end at chapter 12, so we can all be invigorated to imitate Nehemiah in our ministry? There is a point, an important one, for the last chapter. In fact, I believe it carries the main message of the whole book.
Chapter 12 describes a joyful occasion. The wall was finally completed, and it was time to dedicate it to their almighty God. The Jews celebrated it “with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres” (12:27). They also gathered singers from all around Jerusalem to participate in this important ceremony. Two choirs of thanksgiving proceeded from different directions towards the temple of God, and everyone rejoiced (12:43) thinking this must be the beginning of a national revival. The glory of David and Solomon’s day shall be regained (12:45-46). It’s indeed a beautiful picture.
Then, Nehemiah returned to Babylon (13:6) and things started to deteriorate. A house in the temple court was vacated to accommodate a gentile (13:7), and people stopped offering to support the Levites (13:10). The temple was heading towards desolation again. The Sabbath was no longer observed by the people, and they went about their business as usual (13:15-17). Finally, not only the Jews had married with gentile women (13:23), they did not even teach their children to speak the language of Judah (13:24). They were walking right into the same path as Solomon did in his old age (13:26). Nehemiah corrected these as much as he could, but how long would it last?
The message is clear. We cannot have a Nehemiah around to watch people all the time, not to mention his physical limitation. Human beings, even the children of God, are weak and prone to corruption. We need a permanent fix, an abiding watcher, a counselor alongside to “teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness” (2Ti 3:16). The book of Nehemiah is pointing to a person who will be with us always, a teacher who will bear burden with us. It is pointing to Emmanuel. He is the only true and permanent builder of God’s Kingdom.
Keep on reading, you have finished 20 books.