Scan over the lists in Ezra 2:1-70 and Nehemiah 7:1-73. What do you notice about them?
The repetition of Ezra 2:1-70 (the list of those who returned from the Babylonian captivity with Zerubbabel and Joshua) in Nehemiah 7:1-73 is deliberate. Again, these lists might seem boring to us, but they reveal an important point, which is that God cares about details that we might not care about.
The walls of Jerusalem were now finished, and the biblical text intentionally wants to demonstrate that the Ezra-Nehemiah generation of returnees were all contributing toward this great accomplishment, even though God alone gave them this success. The present generation built on the accomplishments of the previous one, even though the task was complicated, filled with barriers, and not completed as soon as they would have liked.
The leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah was valued, but the people also did their work. Each group engaged in different tasks performed at different times, but the result is impressive. The beginning (Ezra 2:1-70) is linked with the end (Nehemiah 7:1-73), and not only was the second temple built, but also Jerusalem was remodeled and well established.
Read Nehemiah 7:73. What does it teach us about how successful they were in their desire to do God’s will?
“The children of Israel were in their cities”.
In many ways, the whole return and rebuilding was amazing. A people who many years before had their city devastated, their temple destroyed, and their land ravaged had now returned to that same land and that same city and were rebuilding everything, even the temple. It must have seemed miraculous to them and to those around them, as well. It was all, however, according to the will and the promises of God.
|What in your life right now might seem hopeless, but nevertheless, you are still trusting in the Lord to get you through?|