Part of God’s People
Dear friend, I know this with all my heart: you matter, and not just to me or the church or your family. You matter to God, and that’s beyond all of that. God loves you and knows you by name. That’s the hope I find in the book of Nehemiah, especially chapter 7.
Nehemiah 7:1 tells us that “the wall was built and [Nehemiah] had hung the doors.” It’s tempting to think, Oh, Nehemiah’s work was done. He could just hang up a hammock somewhere and kick back, right? But Nehemiah knew Jerusalem was a virtual ghost town and would need thriving, prosperous people to fill it. So this leader decided to take stock of his human resources and called for a census.
There are only two major points in Nehemiah 7. First, Nehemiah made sure that the city was guarded (see vv. 1-3). Some commentators think Nehemiah was going back to the king of Babylon to report that the walls of Jerusalem were finished. Thus, he wanted to make sure the people were taken care of, so he put leaders in his place that would carry on while he was gone.
Second, Nehemiah gathered the residents (see vv. 4-73). The rest of this chapter describes the census Nehemiah took and the people he counted: “Altogether the whole assembly was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty” (v. 66).
A lot of us aren’t huge fans of the genealogies in the Bible. Even so, the Holy Spirit inspired the biblical authors to write them down, including this one in Nehemiah 7. Why? It emphasizes that people are not just numbers to God—they are names, and what they do is important, no matter how ordinary it may seem.
Not only that, but in this case, God had made a covenant with Abraham that his heirs would be God’s chosen people—His special treasure (see Deuteronomy 7:6-8). Thus, the Jews needed to prove their pedigree. If they were on this list, they were part of the chosen people.
What about you—are you part of God’s people? God is going to open the Lamb’s Book of Life one day (see Revelation 20:11-15). Do you know if your name is written in it? Are you sure you have the pedigree of being saved by the blood of Jesus Christ? I would love for your name to be written in His book and for you to receive the heritage of the kingdom of Christ. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, that makes God your heavenly Father, which means you’re in His lineage and part of His chosen people (see John 1:12-13). That’s astounding, isn’t it?