“And the chief of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brethren over against them, to praise and to GIVE THANKS, according to the commandment of David the man of God, ward over against ward.” ~ Nehemiah 12:24
Nehemiah was in the process of guiding the Hebrews (who had returned from captivity in Babylon) to celebrate the rebuilt wall of Jerusalem with a worship service and an overall to renew their focus on worshiping God. Accordingly, as a part of worship preparations, several Levites were appointed the special duty to “give thanks” to God.
Today, since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians are now the ones appointed to GIVE THANKS; because Believers are the royal priesthood of God (1 Peter 2:9-10). It is Believers who must show the world how to GIVE THANKS to God!
In Nehemiah 12 a list is given of the Priests and Levites who were to serve: to lead the people in worship. And, in our text, specific mention is made of three Levites who were appointed to GIVE THANKS and one of them also had his father (also a Levite) listed as well. To gain additional insight from our text, it is helpful, therefore, to look at the meanings of the names and the context of the verse.
- Hashabiah: “Jehovah has considered”
- Sherebiah: “Jehovah has scorched”
- Jeshua: “he is saved”
- (the son of) Kadmiel: “God is the ancient one”
Secondly, the context of this verse is that the people had returned from captivity in Babylon where they had been sent for seventy years as punishment for their rejection of God. After being back in Judah for a while they were had just completed the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls and were in the process of re-establishing worship. (Indeed, later in the chapter they would have a great worship service as they dedicated the wall to God.)
This now helps us to understand the message of the verse.
(Hashabiah: “Jehovah has considered”) God had examined His people and saw their sinful state.
(Sherebiah: “Jehovah has scorched”) God had punished them for their sins—Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon and God’s servant (Jeremiah 25:9, 27:6 and 43:10), actually scorched Jerusalem when he defeated them and took many of them into captivity.
(Jeshua: “he is saved”) BUT, he (i.e., Israel) is saved (notice the verb used is in the present tense). Israel WAS punished, but Israel still remained the people of God.
(son of Kadmiel: “God is the ancient one”) And that salvation comes out of The Son of God (JESUS!!!) who has always been their Saviour, from the time of the ancients.
What a GLORIOUS message!!!
The story for Believers is the same. God has considered our state. He has prepared an ultimate place of scorching for sinful man. But He has also prepared trials for Believers, for His people here on earth, because of our sinful ways. The scorchings we endure are not to destroy us, but to purify/refine us as fire drives dross away from silver (Malachi 3:1-4). BUT there is a Saviour from long ago, from the very beginning, the Son of God, who has secured our salvation. Hallelujah! AMEN!
Let us GIVE THANKS to our merciful Saviour who has snatched us out of the fire, who has rescued us from the pit!!! Let us GIVE THANKS to The Holy One who has taken us out of captivity not because of our righteousness which is nothing, but because of His righteousness which is everything!!!