SCRIPTURES: Nehemiah 11:1-36
BOTTOM LINE: God’s people were so faithful in following God, they were willing to MOVE if necessary.
QUESTION: How is God calling us to MOVE? Physically? our Job? our Career? an Attitude change? a Moral change? to Begin a new place of Ministry? to Plug into an Existing Ministry? If God’s Calling, will we RESPOND?
DOWNLOAD: Chapter 11 reminds us that even in the midst of the rebuilding and repopulization of Jerusalem, once again, they made Prayer and their Focus on God the priority. They took a month off to worship God!
Have you, in your adult lives, ever had to MOVE from 1 city to another? How did you know it was the right thing?
This week, we’ve been reading about all kinds of folks that were literally “moving” … some starting new careers … it’s been crazy right?
NEHEMIAH 11:1-2 … “1 Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem. The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten of them to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. 2 The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.”
Back in Nehemiah 7:4, Nehemiah said the city was large and spacious … but the people were few and houses were not built.
This is a big deal … because in an agrarian culture, you grow your own food to sustain yourself … and what’s left over you sell or trade for other necessities.
NEHEMIAH 11:3 … “3 These are the provincial leaders who settled in Jerusalem (now some Israelites, priests, Levites, temple servants and descendants of Solomon’s servants lived in the towns of Judah, each on their own property in the various towns, …”
All throughout the land of Judah, the tribes and people had been living that God had given them and promised as their inheritance … The Promises Land … and these had all been divided up by families according to the family’s size … (Num 26:55-56) …
And because there had been such incredible records … they all knew who’s was who’s still …
NEHEMIAH 11:4-19 … is this really long list of the people who resided in the city of Jerusalem itself … these families all came from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin … which we’d expect as most people had chosen to dwell in the location of their ancestors … [we don’t see that so much today right? Kids move all over the country] …
NEHEMIAH 11:20 … “20 The rest of the Israelites, with the priests and Levites, were in all the towns of Judah, each on their ancestral property.”
Jerusalem was the Capital City … and really, really important … but couldn’t stand by itself … it required provisions that were found all throughout the land AND assistance from neighboring cities … So it was paramount that the surrounding cities and villages remain populated … successful … and ultimately Jerusalem remains Safer, Stronger, and more Successful too.
This is why when NEHEMIAH went into the villages, he only had 1 out of every 10 families move in to the city … and the goal was to REPOPULATE the City … but not at the EXPENSE of the other villages.
The chapter wraps up … and actually carries over into the 1st 25 verses of Chapter 12 to be honest … but we wrap up w/ this listing of towns and cities where people lived … the Tribe of Judah, the Tribe of Benjamin and the Levites …
The towns SOUTH of Jerusalem … from the Hinnom Valley all the way down to Beersheba were the towns and cities belonging to the Tribe of Judah.
The towns NORTH of Jerusalem stretching all the way to the province of Samaria … those were the towns belonging to the Tribe of Benjamin.
And the LEVITES were disbursed all throughout the land to live amongst the people … they were responsible for teaching God’s Word and it was imperative that they were spread out amongst the people to be able to provide daily encouragement and instruction … so the LEVITES didn’t actually choose where to reside … but lived wherever they could be serve God.
APPLICATION: What Would You Say to God?
When we’re in the midst of this massive undertaking … what would it look like if we stopped and spent a season … a period of time as they did making sure our focus was on God … and His plan and His Purpose and His Mission in the world?
How often can we find ourselves really, really busy, and often times busy doing some really, really good things … but the truth is, because we’re not integrating our lives and busyness w/ God’s Word and Mission and Purpose in the world … the truth is … it’s just our FLESH …
We might think we’re serving God … but we’re really serving ourselves …
What is it that’s holding us back from that kind of lens in our lives every single day?
What is it that’s keeping us from having the courage to lay our lives and our living and our family … our entire being down at the feet of God … and saying God … Here I am … Send Me!
Maybe we know God’s been leading us to:
– Go talk to our boss about a new job idea … or start a new company …
– Go talk to our neighbors … or have them over for dinner …
– To restore a relationship w/ someone that’s currently broken …
– To talk to Aaron about plugging in on the CELEBRATION team … or Abby down in Kids CONNECTION … or a new ministry idea that we’ve even yet to explore at HCC … what’s holding us back?
And these folks experienced so much of God along the way … no doubt, some of it was really hard … Following God can be scary … following God can be hard work … following God can bring attack upon our lives … but the things we saw last week in chapter 9 …
– They were Surrendered to God’s Word
– They were willing to Separate themselves from those not following God.
– They reinstituted the Sabbath
– They supported the Work of God
Those things led them to live w/ such Passion for God and who He was in their lives … and God was using them in unbelievable ways … and my question for us today is this …
What … if anything … What is holding us back? What is keeping us from living w/ this kind of dependence and Love of God in us every single day?
And if God called us … would we respond?