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Monday, January 22, 2007

The Physical Paving the Way for the Spiritual (Nehemiah 12)

Reading through Ezra and Nehemiah is quite profitable when you have an eye toward a future building project. Both books are invigorating and instructive when it comes to this topic. The proper use of physical tools to pave the way for eternal work is a subject that needs thought considering the day of materialistic empire building in which we live.

Nehemiah finished the construction of the wall (a must for security in ancient times) and was set to dedicate it in chapter 12. The people anticipated the worship that would take place within the confines of this wall through consecration and choir.

They formed two large thanksgiving choirs. “One went to the right hand on the wall …[and] the other …went the opposite way” (12.31, 38). The choirs met at the house of God (40-42) and sang loudly. The priests “offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off” (12.43). So much for Tobiah’s claim in Nehemiah 4:3: “Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.”

Jerusalem was protected, the re-unified people had accomplished a work for God, the work of the house of God began anew, and morale was high. With sword and trowel Nehemiah led the people through a work of God that had several physical facets to it. When it was finished, the spiritual fortification was greater than that of the physical. May God grant that same conclusion as we embark upon our own work at Heritage.