Day 207 – Thru the Bible
Today we complete Nehemiah. Great job!
Nehemiah 12 & 13 – Before the climactic dedication of the wall, the book looks back to trace one strong thread through the story of the returning exiles. The unbroken Levitical line shows God’s preservation of the people’s ability to worship and be purified as He intended. God’s faithfulness makes the way for His people to worship Him, as they do in the subsequent scene.
Verses 27–43 are a glimpse of God’s people doing what we were created to do: worship Him! Purification and sacrifices enfold this celebration, showing the need for cleansing and mercy from a holy God. The celebration overflows with a joy that God intends and enables. Music erupts, both vocal and instrumental.
What a heritage for Believers who aim to let the word of Jesus dwell in us richly, “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). “Psalms” recalls King David; indeed David is much mentioned, in glimpses back to God’s faithfulness and ahead to God’s promises of an eternal King (2 Samuel 7:12–17). The “joy of Jerusalem” echoes far and wide, both geographically and throughout time. This is the spreading joy of a people redeemed through Jesus our King—echoing and climaxing with the worship in heaven (Revelation 5:8–14).
After a transition in verses 12:44–13:3 showing the people’s trusting obedience to God’s law, the remaining verses (13:4–31) make a dramatic contrast, as the people disobey the law in Nehemiah’s absence. Each promise from chapter 10 is broken: regarding the temple (see 10:32–39), the Sabbath (see 10:31), and marriage (see 10:30).
This book thus lowers a dark final curtain at the onset of that time between Testaments waiting period, before the promised “light of life” comes to shine in the darkness (John 1:4–5). In Scripture’s full light, it is clear that only the One who is Himself the temple can make these wrongs right (John 2:18–22). Nehemiah’s interspersed prayers offer a thread of hope, asking God to “remember”—both the good and the evil, all of which God will bring to light. The greatest hope comes in Nehemiah’s final claiming of “the greatness of Your steadfast love”, God’s covenant love for His people that culminates in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
In reading the book of Nehemiah, we too are brought to reflect on the greatness of God’s steadfast love, which for us has been decisively secured in Jesus on our behalf. We have been adopted into God’s family. We are no longer orphans. Let us lift our heads and rejoice.
How do these truths about our true identity in Jesus fill your great with love for a God and those around you?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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