The rebuilt wall has just been dedicated. Now men are appointed to gather the Lord’s portion. The people are faithful to follow the Lord’s command.
Something in our reading surprised me. It is near the end where we are told, “And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah gave the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; and they set apart that which was for the Levites; and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron” (verse 47).
Zerubbabel was more than a hundred years before Nehemiah. Zerubbabel led the first captives back to Israel. That group was the ones who rebuilt the Temple but I didn’t realize they had also restarted the tithe. I thought that was something Ezra and Nehemiah addressed as deficient when they came. But apparently I was mistaken. Is it possible that part of the people were faithful while others weren’t? Knowing my Father God, He made sure to make up the difference so those serving Him didn’t lack.
There is an order to things in God’s law. There is a reason for what He commands, above simply pleasing Him. The tithe he commanded provided for those who worked in the Temple. These men did not have the luxury of being ‘part time’ servants. When they were called upon it was a full time position. They couldn’t go out and get a second job to pay for their daily needs. They needed someone else to provide for them. He KNEW their needs before He even called them into the role. And that ‘Someone’ was God.
David is the one who set up the official offices of singers and gatekeepers with the coming of the Temple. But God had already set the Levites aside to be ministers for Him to the people. When the Temple was rebuilt in the days of Zerubbabel those offices were needed again. This prompted the need to support those serving in those offices too. And the people did so faithfully.
Not paying their tithes isn’t the sin God had Ezra address with them. It was intermarrying with the other nations. It is possible, maybe even probable, that this area of their lives were in order. It certainly appears so from our reading.
God told His people that when they gave, He would give. Maybe their faithfulness during Zerubbabel’s time is what allowed Him to bless them with more during Ezra and Nehemiah’s time. For it was a blessing for them to be able to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It was a blessing for more of them to be allowed to come back into their land. And it was a blessing to allow them the freedom to worship the Lord their God as He commanded.
We talked about not being under the Law before and that still applies now. But God still thrills to bless His children, especially when He sees them using what He has given them to bless others. I am NOT calling for people to give to force God to give back to you! What I am saying is that when you are faithful to share what He has given you, with those He calls you to share with, He gives you more to work with.
Don’t give because you are forced to but because you want to. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Give because your heart calls you to do so. And I’m going to be bold here and say that EVERYONE who has asked Jesus to be Lord of their lives has a heart to give. This is because we recognize how much He has given us and we want to give back to Him in some way. Caring for His other children is how we do this; through giving. It doesn’t have to be money that you give either. Giving of your talents and time is just as valuable to Him.
I know. I’ve said this before. It’s time I shut up and let Him speak what He desires into each heart (mine included).
Father God, thank You for ALL You have given me. Most of all thank You for Jesus! Lord Jesus, thank YOU for Your gift of AMAZING LOVE! I want to make You proud of me as Your sister. I KNOW I don’t deserve Your gift but I am eternally grateful. And I wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING! Help me to show that same kind of love to others. Open my eyes and heart to those You would have me sow into their lives. Show me how too. Lord, have Your way in me.