|We have condensed today’s reading, but encourage you to read the full chapter.|
The leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in the holy city of Jerusalem, while the remaining nine stayed in the other towns. The people blessed those who agreed to live in Jerusalem.
These are the leaders of the province who lived in Jerusalem; while the Israelites, the priests, the Levites, the temple servants, and the descendants of Solomon’s servants lived in the towns of Judah on their own property in their towns. Some of the descendants of Judah and Benjamin settled in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem’s temple and walls had been rebuilt, but the population was sparse. To fulfill the prophecy and be established as a “holy city”, it needed to be a bustling hub of commerce and activity.
Nehemiah, along with the leaders from surrounding towns, began recruiting people through a lottery system where one out of every ten living in Judea would be selected to move into Jerusalem. In reality, this was like drawing the short straw. Inner parts of the city were still in ruins and it had repeatedly been threatened by its enemies. Moving also required people to give up their land which often meant giving up their livelihood. But the Jewish people knew what was at stake. If Jerusalem failed, their God would be seen as weak. So they made sacrifices for the glory of their God and the population began to grow.
Have you ever been told to pick up your life and move elsewhere? It’s not easy. The Jews were asked to leave their land, social circles, family, and even safety behind. But when they said yes to Jerusalem, they were also saying yes to God and impacting many generations to come.
What might God have in store for you, and those who come after you, if you were willing to step out of your comfort zone?