Obeying God’s Covenant
Book of Nehemiah Chapter 12
A “covenant” is an agreement between two parties.
A covenant is used in many ways in the Scriptures, but we must know that God has made a covenant with all mankind.
God has not only has made a covenant with all mankind, He is also the true witness to all covenants that we make with each other.
Even the marriage between one man and one woman is a covenant witnessed by God!
What was a part of God’s covenant with Abraham?
Lev 26:42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
Lev 26:43 The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.
Lev 26:44 And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.
Lev 26:45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.
God will never forget the covenants He has made!!!!
Deu 4:31 (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
The covenant that effects the church the most is, the Covenant of God’s Son the Lord Jesus Christ!
Heb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
So let’s continue in the Book of Nehemiah:
*****Neh 12:27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.
These Levites were not in Jerusalem nor were they in Persia, they had returned to their cities that had been assigned to them from the time of Joshua.
We must know that God has intended all along for Jerusalem to be the most holy city in all the world, but that will not take place until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Even so, the wall was built according to the plan of God, and it should be dedicated to Jehovah God who had blessed its reconstruction!
When we see the things that only God could have accomplished, we are foolish to not praise Him for those things, also knowing, there are many things that we do not recognize that God has accomplished, according to His plan, that moves ahead every day.
The Levites had been set apart for the priestly duties, including the work of the Temple, including the handling of sacrifices, but also arranging for the things of worship.
Remember the Nethinins were responsible for the care of the Temple.
It was also the Levites job to purify all the instruments of worship, including the musical instruments and by singing praises to the Lord.
The Levites were a gift of God to the Hebrew people and they still are today!
We must always understand that the city of Jerusalem is a special place set aside for the use of God!
The world could help to make this happen now instead of rejecting the plan of God or God has already said He will solve this problem Himself!
All those who claim the Lord Jesus Christ, should know all these things!
We as Christians must be dedicated to the Lord. This is the act of consecration, setting apart ourselves for the Lord.
*****Neh 12:28 And the sons of the singers gathered themselves together, both out of the plain country round about Jerusalem, and from the villages of Netophathi;
Neh 12:29 Also from the house of Gilgal, and out of the fields of Geba and Azmaveth: for the singers had builded them villages round about Jerusalem.
Netophathi was the home city set aside for the Levites, but these particular Levites were singers.
Most of the singers for the worship in the Temple lived there, but some did also live in what is called the plain country, round and about Jerusalem.
That word plain is where the term Palestine comes from!
Although the Temple, the City of Jerusalem and homes were already dedicated to the Lord, this may be the first time that the walls of Jerusalem were dedicated to the Lord God Jehovah.
We might understand by this act of dedication, that the walls of Jerusalem were useless without the strength of God to protect them from His and our enemies.
The wall we build around ourselves, is the wall of salvation, and this wall is protected by the Divine Will of God, if we have dedicated ourselves to the will of God!
We need this wall of salvation, because within our house (our soul) dwells the Holy Spirit (Ghost) of God!
How did these Levites purify themselves?
Num 8:7 And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.
*****Neh 12:30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.
Notice that all these things were meaningless, unless they were purified!
We must understand to be purified, is to put away all false gods and the idols of this world, and give ourselves to the Lord.
We must repent of our evil ways and walk in the ways of the Lord!
We cannot do this unless we have accepted the work of Jesus Christ to save us and the truth of our Creator!
We cannot be used of God to reach others, until we our saved and separated from this world of sin, pure in mind, (the mind of Christ), and sincere in the work the Lord has given us to do!
Why was the wall purified, because it was in fact a “type” of the power of God to defend Israel.
We must remember Solomon’s Temple, the city of Jerusalem, and these walls would never have been broken down had the previous generation been obedient to Jehovah.
It was disobedience to the Word of God that had caused all the problems of the nation buy God will never forsake the nation of Israel.
2Ch 36:14 Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
2Ch 36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
2Ch 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
2Ch 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
With all these things now in the past, it was now time to look forward.
The Temple was rebuilt, the City of Jerusalem was rebuilt, the Walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, and it was time to rededicate these things to the God who had allowed these things to happen.
*****Neh 12:31 Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks, whereof one went on the right hand upon the wall toward the dung gate:
Neh 12:32 And after them went Hoshaiah, and half of the princes of Judah,
Neh 12:33 And Azariah, Ezra, and Meshullam,
Neh 12:34 Judah, and Benjamin, and Shemaiah, and Jeremiah,
Nehemiah brought the princes up on the wall because they were the descendants of the royal family of King David, but they were not the government at this time because Nehemiah was the governor assigned by King Artaxerses.
It was important that all the people see that the royal family were in agreement with these things Nehemiah had set his heart to accomplish.
The one thing the people needed to see, was that this wall that had been built so quickly was a sound wall and able to protect them and it was truly a work of God.
The walls of Jerusalem were wide enough for many people to walk upon.
We should remember, that the Dung Gate would show all of them the place where the filth of the city could be seen.
One half of these groups of princes would be led by Hoshaiah which means (Jah has saved), who we know nothing more about.
Azariah could possibly be the leading prince of the tribe of Benjamin.
We already know that Ezra was a descendant of the High Priestly family and a scribe of the Word of God.
This Meshullam, was also one of the chief men of the tribe of Benjamin.
Judah was a man who Nehemiah had made to be over one half of the city of Jerusalem.
This Benjamin was one who had to give up his Gentile wife, and a high-ranking man of the tribe of Benjamin.
This Shemaiah was one who was the head over certain of the priests.
This Jeremiah was also over certain of the priests.
This group on the wall had the princes from the royal line of King David, the two men assigned by Nehemiah to be in charge, each over one half of Jerusalem, the princes of the tribe of Judah, the princes of the tribe of Benjamin. and the heads of all the Levites and the priests.
If these people were convinced that the walls were safe and part of the dedication ceremony, then they could encourage all the other Jews, who we can be sure were watching as these men made their trip around the Walls of Jerusalem.
Since this was a joyous occasion, then there was a need for music.
*****Neh 12:35 And certain of the priests’ sons with trumpets; namely, Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph:
Neh 12:36 And his brethren, Shemaiah, and Azarael, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethaneel, and Judah, Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God, and Ezra the scribe before them.
We know that Asaph had been appointed by King David, to be over all the music of the worship services and even in the time of Nehemiah, this family still provided the music for worship and at this dedication of the walls of Jerusalem.
We should understand that in typology, these walls represented the Divine protection of God.
Psa_5:12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
This Zechariah was the descendant of Asaph, and all these others were part of that family.
Those musical instruments would include:
The harp or better known as the lyre.
The psaltry another type of harp.
The sackbut another type of harp that had only 4 strings.
The lute which was a type of guitar.
The gittith another type of string instrument.
The timbrel a form of tamborine.
The toph which is a drum.
There would be bells.
There would be cymbals.
And of course there would be trumpets of different types, possibly including bagpipes.
We can see that it was an orchestra that was upon that wall this day of dedication.
Music should always be a part of our own dedication to the Lord!
It was Ezra, the Priest and Scribe, who led this group of musicians.
This group climb onto the wall at the house of David.
*****Neh 12:37 And at the fountain gate, which was over against them, they went up by the stairs of the city of David, at the going up of the wall, above the house of David, even unto the water gate eastward.
We know that Jerusalem is built upon a hill with the Temple upon a hill of Mount Moriah, so certainly there would be many steps in the city.
By dedicating the walls of Jerusalem in such a manner, Nehemiah was hoping that the people would be encouraged to complete the reconstruction of the City of Jerusalem.
The city of Jerusalem was under the control of Persia for more than 200 years and then about another 150 years, a part of the Greek empire.
Then came Herod and the Roman Empire.
It will be the Lord, when He returns, who will build the city of Jerusalem to His specifications, and then about 1000 years later or a bit more we that love the Lord will see the New Jerusalem.
In this world it seems all we see is destruction and rebuilding then rebuilding walls for protection.
It amazes me, that many of the well to do, will build walls around their own homes, but deny that we need walls to secure our nation.
They will have armed guards, but try to deny all other the right to defend their homes and families.
They will confine others to limited health care, while they legislate themselves a total free healthcare system.
They will confine many to small wages, while they insist on grand monies while they work and a grand retirement.
We do not live free as our forefathers planned, we are ruled by reprobates who reject the Word of God, and seek only power and prestige.
Shame on us for allowing this to happen in our nation!
The other half of this company after giving thanks to the Lord God Jehovah, went in the opposite direction.
*****Neh 12:38 And the other company of them that gave thanks went over against them, and I after them, and the half of the people upon the wall, from beyond the tower of the furnaces even unto the broad wall;
Neh 12:39 And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate.
We have Nehemiah who represented the Government of Israel, and Ezra representing God’s people, speaking in one voice this day in Israel.
These people realized what could happen when they all worked together and according to the Word of God.
When we have been thru the valley of contention and made it to the crest of truth again, we should take a moment to look back where we came from and how the power of God had brought us again to the hill top.
We need to remove all negativity from our minds, and just trust the Lord to lead us.
Look back and see how history could have been changed, had the tiny nation of Israel remained true to the Word of God.
We could also say the same thing for our own nation!
One day we will live in a world where no one will be against the Word of God, and it will be a perfect world!
There will be no fish gate, and certainly no prison gate, no sheep gate and no old gate.
They will all be gates of pearl!
Rev 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
In the New Jerusalem there be 12 foundations and each name had inscribed with the names of the 12 Apostles.
Those 12 men who obeyed the Lord Jesus Christ, and did cause the Gospel to begin its trip to all the world!
*****Neh 12:40 So stood the two companies of them that gave thanks in the house of God, and I, and the half of the rulers with me:
Neh 12:41 And the priests; Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Michaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets;
Neh 12:42 And Maaseiah, and Shemaiah, and Eleazar, and Uzzi, and Jehohanan, and Malchijah, and Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.
What do we know? We know that the work that God has given us to do is not druggery. It is a very satisfying thing to lead someone to the Lord.
It is a joyous thing to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We know that God wants all things done decently and in order.
What do all evolutionist miss along with most people of this world? They miss the fact that every living creature, every landscape, and every plant, every solar system and every process in God’s Creation are done decently and in order.
The truth of our universe is that it is orderly going about what God intended it to do.
The only thing where problems come is mankind!
These two groups in one voice gave thanks to God, not because they had returned to the Promised Land, but because they knew the Word of God was true and it will always be true!
God will fulfill every promise He has ever made to the Church and to the nation of Israel and its people.
We can open the Word of God and see a loving God who will do exactly what He says He will do.
Some will say that a loving God would never send anyone to Hell, but they have not understood the Word of God which teaches us how to avoid Hell, so if we end up in Hell then the blame is entirely on ourselves!
To be a Christian is a serious thing, because our goal is to be like Jesus Christ. He is our example and He teaches us, we cannot be perfect while we remain on this earth. This is still or goal and it is a happy and peaceful thing to accomplish.
There is still time for all the things concerning mankind to be accomplished!
Ecc_3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
This time grows shorter each day and God does not do things on our schedule but only on His schedule and His schedule will never change.
We can rejoice in the Lord and in our salvation, or we can give up on the Lord and be failures as Christians.
We see the failures of Christians in our nation every day. There are enough Christian in our nation to put good and righteous people in our government, but we sit at home and refuse to vote!
Either way, God’s plan moves along at His pace and we know the Lord will return when we lease expect it, and He will still be right on time no matter what is going on in this world.
Are we in a severe climate change? The Lord promised we would have the four seasons until He returns.
Will this world end drastically? The Church will be in Heaven well before this thing could ever take place!
God says to quit worrying about these things, and get busy serving the Lord.
Then stand upon your own personal wall, and give God the praise and worship that we should give Him every day!