By the help of the Lord, your family can bring others to the top of your rebuilt wall to show what you can accomplish through faith in God
Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. (Nehemiah 12:31a)
And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.
Read Chapter 12 closely and get a picture of Nehemiah as an impressive orchestrator. The description of music and choreography might rival a wholesome Super Bowl halftime show. The grand display of synchronized movement did not overshadow the unrestrained joy of the celebration.1 The returning Jews dedicated this day to giving thanks to God for his provision and his goodness. The city was rebuilt and would now be dedicated as a place where God would be worshipped, followed, and made known.2
Similar to the way military leaders today proudly conduct a ceremonial inspection during a change of command, Nehemiah took city leaders on a walk around the wall. This was the wall that enemies said could not hold a fox (Nehemiah 4:3). Now choirs marched atop in song. This was the wall naysayers said could not be rebuilt. Now leaders of the city stood on top for inspection.
Friend, you may have thought your family would not survive deployment—but you did. You may think your family cannot survive reintegration—but you can. By the help of the Lord, your family can bring others to the top of your rebuilt wall to show what you can accomplish through faith in God. Will you steward the opportunity you have as a military family to be an example of God’s faithfulness?
A note of caution: Chapter 12 celebrates the accomplishment of rebuilding. Unfortunately, Chapter 13 reveals that the people did not follow up on their celebration with a continued commitment to serve God. As life went on and Nehemiah returned to Persia, the people of Jerusalem became lax in their commitment. As you continue your journey of hope, celebrate the good God has done and is going to do in your family, and be determined to keep your commitments to your family and to the Lord.
If you have ever been involved in a dedication for a marriage, baby, military, or church building, reflect on what makes such a ceremony special and significant. Consider planning a mini-family reunion or a special meal with friends and families to celebrate God’s goodness to your family.
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, thank you for your sustaining grace and mercy. Help my family to be surrendered to your constant work in our lives—as individuals and as a family. Keep us humble and gracious in our interactions with one another, and help us be an example of what you can do in and through a family committed to serving you. Amen.
1 Dahlen and Larson, Holman OT Commentary, 260.
2 Hamilton, Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah, 207.