The grass is just beginning to grow. You can just barely see it. Little by little, the ground that was barren is again becoming a lush pasture.

Such is the image that comes to mind in Nehemiah 11-12. The exiles have received favor from the Lord. There is even an Israelite in the King’s ear “in all matters concerning the people” back in Persia (Nehemiah 11:25). They are the recipients of God’s favor and sovereign protection. Walls have been rebuilt and worship established—on the dime of the king of Persia himself! (Ezra 7:20, Nehemiah 11:22-23). This signifies for us who now read the account of how God’s people fared post-exile that the most important aspect of their new lives and rebuilding efforts was worship of their God. May we learn from their wisdom and fealty. As we continue to live for God’s glory here on the earth and proclaim the gospel to neighborhoods and nations, may worship remain central to all that we do.

by Craig Lester, Pastor of Worship & Music

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