In chapter 11 of Nehemiah, we find he has a new mission! Jerusalem is now secure behind the rebuilt city walls but very few people actually live in the city! Nehemiah enlists volunteers to make the move into the city, people who were willing to put the pursuit of God’s Kingdom above their own safety and prosperity.
Much of the chapter is taken up with lists of names from among the various groups of Jews who returned to Jerusalem. These included descendants of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, Temple Priests, Levites and a miscellaneous group of Temple servants and singers. Many traced their ancestry back to Perez, a hero within Israel (Genesis 38), and are described as the valiant men of Perez…just like their famous predecessor! Others, who were involved in the Temple worship, found their heritage stemming from Asaph, “The worship leader,” to whom many Psalms are attributed (eg. Psalm 70-80).
And when we look at these ancient names from the past, we can let them speak across the centuries through their example. They point us to a different way of living for God, for Jesus, and show how ordinary folk like you and me, can never the less can do some extraordinary things in God’s strength!