written by Paxton Brittle
As we come to chapter 12 of Nehemiah, the great goal of Nehemiah has been accomplished. The wall around Jerusalem has been rebuilt. The people are poised for a celebration of this incredible occasion. Despite being in exile, despite each of the roadblocks they hit in the rebuilding of the wall, the task is complete and it’s time to celebrate. In the same way that all contributed to the building of the wall, Nehemiah desires for all of Jerusalem to participate in its celebration and dedication.
Nehemiah chapter 12 begins with a laundry list of all the priests and people participating in the dedication and celebration of the wall. Although it is hard to glean any encouragement from these lists in scripture, this one is included to show us just how momentous of an event this was. This brings us to our central question throughout this chapter of God’s word and throughout the overall narrative of Nehemiah.
WHOSE IS THE VICTORY?
After all that was accomplished by the people of Jerusalem, who deserves the glory and honor? After all, they had worked hard and worked together and broken through barriers that had held them back before. In spite of all this, Nehemiah reminds us that behind every victory we experience in life is the God of the Universe making it happen.
Do we play a part? ABSOLUTELY! Does God WANT us to play a part in his plans? NO DOUBT! But in humility we always need to remember that God is the foundation of it all.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
Nehemiah chapter 12 closes with an in depth description of the celebration and dedication of the wall. From choirs singing to priests playing trumpets, it was no doubt a spectacle of excitement. But the overwhelming theme was the people of Jerusalem’s joy and praise for what God had worked through them.
See when we let the Lord work, when we really allow him to use us to rebuild our communities, it doesn’t just benefit those who have less or need assistance. We are designed to serve and exalt our Lord. So, we are not just useful when we say yes to what God is calling us to do. You are most satisfied and fulfilled when your life and relationships and time are spent serving the goals of the kingdom of God.
The joy of the people in Nehemiah 12 was not produced because an inanimate wall surrounded their city. The joy of the people in Nehemiah 12 was evident because The Living God had used them to accomplish a goal that ultimately brought Him glory.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.