We have been trekking through a book full of twists and turns, a story that mirrors the basic facets of our daily lives—God’s promises, our doubts, and the enemy’s schemes. Nehemiah’s story is a story we can all relate to. Until, perhaps, today’s passage comes along.
Like a disjointed puzzle, we are presented with a stack of names and ordinances and promises that we have a hard time piecing together into a coherent picture. What do these names have to do with anything? How can we, in the 21st century, relate to farming contracts in the ancient world?
In some ways, we can’t. Nehemiah’s story is a story stuck in history and a key piece to pushing God’s bigger story toward the coming of Christ. In all our reading, studying, and reflecting on Nehemiah, we shouldn’t forget that this is an event that actually happened to real people, in a real place.
However, as we’ve already pointed out, the story mirrors our daily lives. This passage in particular details how all of God’s people came together to rejoice in God’s faithfulness in helping them accomplish the rebuilding of the wall. Together they agree to give a portion of their crops and earnings to the Lord, to thank Him for His grace, and to remind themselves that they have nothing without Him.
For us today, this principle is not much different. Everything we have belongs to the Lord: our family, our jobs, our money, our time, and even the breath in our lungs. We don’t need to build a wall to remember and appreciate this. As these ancient people gathered together to thank God for His faithfulness, we also should gather together every week with God’s people, receiving grace and pouring out praise to our faithful God. We have nothing without Him, and so everything we own is His.
May we say with Nehemiah’s generation, “We will not neglect the house of our God” (10:39). He has been faithful to us. And so may we learn to love Him and His commands, and remain faithful to Him in turn (John 14:15).
Written by Brandon D. Smith