Today the people celebrate a dedication of the wall of Jerusalem with a parade led by 2 large thanksgiving choirs and the people rejoice so greatly “that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”
After serving as governor of Judah for 12 years, Nehemiah returns to Artaxerxes king of Babylon. Nehemiah says that when he was governor he did not demand the governor’s provisions as the other governors had done in the past bc he didn’t want to place any more burden on the people. Nehemiah calls upon the Lord to remember him “for good, according to all that I have done for this people.”
Nehemiah is granted permission to return back to Judah where he discovers that the people have neglected the house of the Lord and the Word of God. So Nehemiah rebukes the rulers and sets the house of God back in order. He forces the people to honor the Sabbath and condemns the ones who intermarried with pagan nations. Nehemiah says remember what happened to Solomon, the wisest king whom there was no other like; “Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin.”
We end the reading meeting the prophet Malachi who ensures the returned remnant of God’s love for them. He takes them back in the Story to the time when God chose Jacob over Esau to receive his covenantal blessings and to work His plan of sending our Savior. Although Israel was punished for their disobedience, the Lord restored them and is committed to them which is proof of His love for them. God did not make the same covenant to Esau’s descendants, Edom, and they will be judged for their wickedness and not restored like Israel.
Malachi goes on to rebuke the priests who were accepting unworthy sacrifices. He tells them the Lord is worthy of their honor bc He is their Father, Master, and King! Malachi tells the priests that their lives should be an example for the others. “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth…But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law.”
Tomorrow more from Malachi and we hear from the prophet Joel bringing an end to the Return Era! 🎉 Keep reading.
(Nehemiah 12:27-13:6a, Nehemiah 5:14-19, Nehemiah 13:6b-31, Malachi 1:1-2:9)