Nehemiah

This devotional is written by Kris Darrell. Kris hails from Bermuda and is considered to be an exceptional storyteller. References upon request.

Nehemiah 12:1-26

Priests and Levites

12 These were the priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and with Joshua:

Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

2 Amariah, Malluk, Hattush,

3 Shekaniah, Rehum, Meremoth,

4 Iddo, Ginnethon,[a] Abijah,

5 Mijamin,[b] Moadiah, Bilgah,

6 Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah,

7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah and Jedaiah.

These were the leaders of the priests and their associates in the days of Joshua.

8 The Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and also Mattaniah, who, together with his associates, was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. 9 Bakbukiah and Unni, their associates, stood opposite them in the services.

10 Joshua was the father of Joiakim, Joiakim the father of Eliashib, Eliashib the father of Joiada, 11 Joiada the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan the father of Jaddua.

12 In the days of Joiakim, these were the heads of the priestly families:

of Seraiah's family, Meraiah;

of Jeremiah's, Hananiah;

13 of Ezra's, Meshullam;

of Amariah's, Jehohanan;

14 of Malluk's, Jonathan;

of Shekaniah's,[c] Joseph;

15 of Harim's, Adna;

of Meremoth's,[d] Helkai;

16 of Iddo's, Zechariah;

of Ginnethon's, Meshullam;

17 of Abijah's, Zikri;

of Miniamin's and of Moadiah's, Piltai;

18 of Bilgah's, Shammua;

of Shemaiah's, Jehonathan;

19 of Joiarib's, Mattenai;

of Jedaiah's, Uzzi;

20 of Sallu's, Kallai;

of Amok's, Eber;

21 of Hilkiah's, Hashabiah;

of Jedaiah's, Nethanel.

22 The family heads of the Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan and Jaddua, as well as those of the priests, were recorded in the reign of Darius the Persian. 23 The family heads among the descendants of Levi up to the time of Johanan son of Eliashib were recorded in the book of the annals. 24 And the leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua son of Kadmiel, and their associates, who stood opposite them to give praise and thanksgiving, one section responding to the other, as prescribed by David the man of God.

25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon and Akkub were gatekeepers who guarded the storerooms at the gates. 26 They served in the days of Joiakim son of Joshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra the priest, the teacher of the Law.


Reflection

I have to be honest, when I read this passage I found it to be challenging, as it brought up many questions about my own lineage. Family is a very difficult concept for me, since mine is quite fractured. Also, like many Black Caribbeans, I have been so far removed from my lineage due to circumstances beyond our control that I wouldn't even begin to know where to start to trace my origins. I began to think about the correlation between the lack of knowledge of where one comes from versus what our purpose is.

I found that I struggle with my place and role in life, and in Christ, because I struggle with my heritage. So much of our sense of self comes from our family ties, and this helps to formulate our value within the societies that we live in. So, when one doesn't have a sense of belonging, it tends to mean that they struggle with who they are and what they are meant to do.

However, there is good news. I found that the amazing thing about being a Christian is that once we accept Jesus into our hearts, we become a part of His family. Our names get written in His book, which is eternal, and we will always belong and have a purpose in His family and His kingdom. When I remember this in my darkest times, it helps me to centre my focus and gives me the drive to move in God's purpose for my life, using the gifts he has blessed me with.

Prayer

Lord I thank you for accepting me into your family. May I be reminded that I will always be a part of your family, and I will always have value and a purpose in your kingdom.  


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