BY Diana Stone
Text: Nehemiah 11-12:26, Philippians 2:21, Romans 12:1
At first glance, the exhaustive list of names in chapters 11 and 12 makes for a rather dry read. But pull up a chair, dig in a bit more, and see that in between these listings is the story of great importance to Jerusalem.
You would think as Jerusalem was being finished, people fought over who would live within the walls of the great city that they built. It would seem obvious that living there would be a privilege. Instead we see that lots were cast over who had to go, and that the people who did volunteer were commended. (Nehemiah 11:1-2)
Why is this? First, Israelites were a hated people. Anyone living within the walls could probably expect to be attacked and live on edge. Also, because it was a holy city and in it resided their temple, the inhabitants would need to follow God’s commandments closely and be examples.
Simply put, living within Jerusalem was more of a bother than a gift to most.
“All seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s.” (Philippians 2:21)
As I read through these chapters, my heart is struck by how often in my life I am the Israelite unwilling to live in God’s city. I’d rather be outside the walls, no burdens of how to act or expectations to sacrifice comforts. Yet, what God wants from us isn’t a begrudging acceptance of “lot casting.” He wants our hearts, our ability to look at the unknown and often terrifying and still say, “Yes Lord. Not my will, but yours.”
Our Lord wants us to accept making our lives a living sacrifice for His kingdom because He knows that what lies ahead for us in eternity is better than anything here on earth.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
We can be lot casters. We can enter into His holy city kicking and screaming, pouting for years and wondering, “Why me?” But we can also choose to go willingly, to be the volunteers that love the Lord so much we’d sacrifice the earthly “good” life for the glory of God.
Lord, make our lives a (willing) living sacrifice for your greater purpose.
59 thoughts on "a willing sacrifice"
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Tnismom ill be praying for a supernatural healing on life:-) god bless
I posted a few weeks ago about my mother-in-law having a brain tumor. Tomorrow she will be admitted to the hospital for some testing prior to surgery. Then Thursday morning at 8:00 she will go in for surgery to remove the tumor. It is very large, covering the top of her head and is wrapped around a major blood vessel. I would be grateful for your continued prayers over the next few days. I know some people don't check back so I will probably post this again tomorrow.
Praying for complete healing.
Sure will be joining in prayer for this serious need. God is able. And praying peace for your family.
I totally assumed that the families were pulling lots to see who GETS to live in Jerusalem. Like they were just jumping at the chance to live in the land God gave them. It didn't even cross my mind that some of them would much rather stay elsewhere quite happily. I had to go back and read it again in several versions just to make sure I was reading it right. And my conclusion is the same as yours at SRT. Wow! What a meaty gem I would have missed without your insight Diana. Thank you!
So then, what do I do with this shift in perception? I can see so many ways I have fallen into the same mindset in my own life. Here, God has made a way to return, He's gathered people to rebuild the walls to make it secure, made provisions for everything I need…and all I have to do is step in and live out what He has called me to do.
But, so often, it is more comfortable to stay on the outskirts, in a foreign "land" simply because it FEELS more familiar and more safe. Stepping out requires courage. It's a step into the unknown where I must completely trust that the Lord is faithful to finish what He has started. That He will not abandon His people.
Am I willing to risk it all to live in the land that the Lord has prepared for me? So much to chew on.
Love the way you put things!
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