Nehemiah 11:19. “The gatekeepers Akkub, Talmon, and their brothers who kept watch at the gates, were 172.” Now that may not seem like the most inspiring verse of scripture you’ve ever read or heard, but this is what Nehemiah Chapter 11 is all about. It’s got just a list of people’s names and what they did. Priests, Levites, chiefs of the province. This verse in particular, “The gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon, and their brothers who kept watch at the gates,” and it says there were 172. The whole picture, what I love, is I was reading this, just thinking, “yes.” The names of each of these people and their number, 172 of them. Every single one of them matters. Every single one of them is important. I love this chapter of scripture.
We should draw great comfort from the reality that the God of the universe values us.
This is the kind of chapter when you’re reading through the Bible you often skip through because it’s like, “Oh it’s just a bunch of names. I don’t really know what this has to do with me.” It has everything to do with us. To realize every name here is important. That God made sure every name, all these different names were written down. The numbers were written down. Each person among the people of God was playing this part, that part. I just want to encourage you, you think about your life to know all the obvious. God knows your name. How does he know your name? You think about pictures that we see in scripture, like Jesus saying he knows the number of hairs on your head. They are numbered. He knows how many there are. He’s numbered all of them. He knows which one is number 387. He knows us intimately and he loves us. Every one of our lives counts before him.
I think if we’re not careful we can miss this. We can see the world around us, even the church around us, just think, “Oh yeah, I’m just another person. I don’t really know what I can do. I see this person, that person, their gifts, their skills, how God’s using them. I just don’t think I am being used by God to do that much, but I’ll do a little here or there.” Don’t underestimate for a second what God desired to do in your life on a daily basis. What he wants to use your life to do in ways far beyond what you could ask or imagine. Your life counts before almighty God. He knows you. He loves you. Just receive this where you’re sitting listening to this. He loves you. He knows your name. He’s called you by name. You belong to him. Your life is in his hands. He is leading, guiding, directing you. He wants you to know and enjoy him, and he wants to use your life to make his glory know in others’ lives.
Doesn’t it just cause us to pray oh God thank you. Thank you for your love for me. Thank you for your love for each person that is listening to this right now. How you have given meaning and significance to our lives. Jesus you died on the cross, not just for the nations. Yes for the nations, but you died on the cross for us, each of us. You died on the cross for me. You died on the cross for individual people that are listening to this right now. You love them so much. Our hairs are numbered on our heads. God, you know every detail about us. We just praise you for your love for us. We do pray, oh God make our lives, cause our lives to count for your kingdom in whatever way you will. In our lives, in our families, in our neighborhoods, the places where we live, the places where we work and play, and where you lead us in the world.
God we pray that you would use our lives however you want, each of us, for your glory. We all want to play a part in making your glory known in the world through our praying and our living and our giving and our going and our walking with you. God please use us to make your glory known. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For your love for each of us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen