Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nehemiah 12:1-30

The wall was complete, and Jerusalem was surrounded with a constant visual reminder of God’s protection and provision. The families who had volunteered to move into the city had begun to relocate their belongings, and Jerusalem was quickly turning into a bustling city. For the next several days, the temple musicians began their practices to perfect their singing. Half-choruses rang through the city, as worship leaders honed their choirs into precise praise machines. The temple workers stoked the flames of the altar and the smoke of incense rose again to fill the temple. The gates of the city quickly became the arteries of business that they were designed to be. Porters guarded the gates with a watchful eye, carefully inspecting everyone who came into the city. Jerusalem was great again.
The city had become an emblem of the grace of a Sovereign God. Now, Governor Nehemiah called the people together to dedicate this great city to God. The city had been God’s gift to His people, and now the dedication of the city was going to be the people’s gift back to God. He was the God of Providence, now they wanted to publicly say that they acknowledged this as His great gift and that they wanted to use this gift to worship Him for ages to come.
God had placed something in their hands. They then took an intentional step to offer that thing back to God. They did not view Jerusalem as “their” city. They openly wanted all of the world to know that Jerusalem was and always would be God’s city. So what was their role? Their role was explicitly to maintain and steward what God had given them. It was in their hands, but it had His name on it.
We should have this same view with the gifts that God gives to us. All of our possessions, all of our relationships, all of our opportunities should be seen as gifts from the heart of a loving Sovereign. They were in His mind before they came into our hands. Knowing that every good gift is from our God, we should live in such a way that intimates this reality. From a heart of gratitude then, our words, our actions, our very motives should all point toward the deep inward reality that all is His, even if it may currently be in our hand.

Food for Thought: Read James 1:17. What does this verse say about the gifts that we receive?