Dedication of the Wall
Key Verse: “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.”
THE RETURN OF THE priests and the Levites from Babylonian exile to Jerusalem was an important aspect of reestablishing worship in the land. In this chapter, there is a detailed account concerning the many individuals and family members who were involved in this process.—Neh. 12:1-20
“At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.” (vs. 27) As part of the preparation for the dedication, the priests, Levites, and the people, as well as the gates and the wall, were all purified. (vs. 30) This action was in harmony with other scriptures which emphasized the necessity of being cleansed before acceptable worship could be offered to God—“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”—Ps. 24:3,4
Two choirs were enlisted to lead the inhabitants of Jerusalem in joyful praise, thereby ensuring that the dedication service would be appropriately memorable. (Neh. 12:31-42) Our Key Verse conveys the emotions the people felt on this occasion as great sacrifices were offered. It was indeed a celebration of rejoicing and thanksgiving, one which not only the men experienced, but also the women and children.
As a result of the zeal with which this restoration activity was conducted, Nehemiah had succeeded in rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. He also, in so doing, revived the authority of the Mosaic Law among the people, and reestablished the Temple ministry according to divine direction.—vss. 44-47
Among the lessons which the followers of Christ may take from the foregoing narrative is an appreciation for our magnificent Heavenly Father. He is most worthy of our praise and adoration for his mercy and kindness in inviting us to become a part of his divine family to bless all mankind during the Messianic kingdom. When all the willing and obedient members of the human family are returned from the tomb and receive the blessings of life at that time, they will rejoice. They will see and understand the magnificent sacrifice of Christ Jesus as well as the part we, the body of Christ, will play in helping to restore mankind back into heart harmony with God.
How wonderful is our God that he has great riches in store, not only for the faithful members of the body of Christ, but for each member of the redeemed race who comes to a full appreciation of our Creator and worships him supremely and obediently.
The attitude of heart that will forever be reflected by all intelligent beings, both spiritual and human, when God’s plan is fully understood and appreciated, is reflected in these words: “I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.”—Ps. 86:12