Today’s reading: Nehemiah 1-13; Psalm 62-63
Today we get a second account of the people of Israel’s return to Jerusalem following exile in Babylon. This one is told from the perspective of Nehemiah. From the last two days’ readings, we gain an appreciation for what a great team Ezra the priest and Nehemiah the governor made in helping Israel recover its sense of purpose and place.
As we saw yesterday, Ezra plays a key role in reminding Israel of its responsibility to be faithful and obedient to the covenant, re-establishing their purpose as God’s chosen people. Today, we see Nehemiah’s significance as building supervisor in the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s temple and walls, a project that will restore the Israelites’ sense of place.
What a fantastic scene we witness in chapter 12, when a well-orchestrated worship service is held to dedicate the rebuilding of the wall. Here, we observe the fruits of both Ezra and Nehemiah’s labors; we also see their commitment to working together, both of them present in leading the celebration. Such a grand occasion would not be complete without great music! All the nation’s best musicians are on hand, leading the congregation in joyful song. On this day, the sound of music can be heard for miles around.