Read Nehemiah 11:1-2. What is going on in this passage? Why would they have to cast lots to see who would have to live in Jerusalem as opposed to living in the other cities?
What does Nehemiah chapter 11 teach us? It was necessary to get new residents for Jerusalem from the newcomers who had come back to the land after their exile.
Apparently it was easier to live in the countryside than in the city. People had their own land, inherited from their forefathers. To abandon it and go to live in Jerusalem was a sacrifice, and many could rightly feel that they would be uprooted if they did so. Life would have new challenges, and an urban lifestyle is different from living in a rural area. Moving to a new, unknown setting is always difficult.
How challenging is it to move to a new city or country where the gospel needs to be spread? Mission to the cities requires willingness to undertake new adventures and hardships.
“Our workers are not reaching out as they should. Our leading men are not awake to the work that must be accomplished. When I think of the cities in which so little has been done, in which there are so many thousands to be warned of the soon coming of the Saviour, I feel an intensity of desire to see men and women going forth to the work in the power of the Spirit, filled with Christ’s love for perishing souls” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7. p. 40.
Why is the long list of priests and Levites mentioned in Nehemiah 12:1-26? What is the connection between them and the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem described in the second part the same chapter (Neh. 12:27-47)?
God wants things to be done in a proper way. Dedicated and consecrated people are needed first before great things can be accomplished. These priestly families helped Nehemiah build the walls in order that they could safely worship the living God in the temple without intervention from outside. Walls were important for security, but without devoted priests true worship would be in jeopardy. Hence all the people, in their various functions, had their roles to play.