As soon as I was introduced to this person, I was instantly confused – was this really them?
Reference: v.66 The whole company numbered 42,360 (TNIV Bible)
Explore: The other day I met someone for the very first time. This is not such an unusual occasion, as I meet new people all the time, however, I had heard quite a bit about this person before our meeting. Some friends of mine had spoken of them, and what they have achieved in their life, and so I was looking forward to meeting them. As soon as I was introduced to this person, I was instantly confused – was this really them? It seems that I had built a picture in my head of what this person should look like, and it seems my mental image was totally wrong! It really threw me off for awhile as they were so different to my mental image!
Application: I often have this happen when I read Bible stories a little closer. I’ve heard of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall on many occasions, and my image of this historical event was a few men scattered all around a long decrepit wall, working hard with one hand and holding a sword to defend themselves in the other. However, as I read through chapter 7 of Nehemiah a little more thoroughly, I realise that there are over 42000 people around at the time. This is a small city! I grew up in a town of 1450 and we needed supermarkets, mechanics, a pub and a hospital! I’m not sure this newly formed community had all of these amenities, but it just goes to show there were a lot more people moving around than just a few guys along the wall. The benefit of reading the Bible more closely, is that you get a better idea of what really happened in the story, rather than just a mental picture of what you imagined. Now the desire to build the city would be understandable if you have all your friends and family there to protect. Let’s not brush over Bible stories that we think we know as there will always be something in there that God brings to light.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your word and for the renewed meaning it brings to our life. Amen.
What deeper understanding have you discovered from the Bible?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.