Campfire Scripture: A campfire, a manly Bible verse, a billy boiling and a starry night sky. Yep.
Author, Date and Context:
Ezra the scribe and Levite was descendant of Aaron. There is good reason to believe Ezra authored his own account ‘Ezra’, both 1 and 2 Chronicles and finally Nehemiah also. Nehemiah is based largely on the writings of Nehemiah given that sections of it are written in the first person (from Nehemiah’s perspective). Ezra wrote the book sometime shortly before 400 B.C. probably during Nehemiah’s governorship.
Nehemiah was King Artaxerxes cupbearer. He was a close confidant of the King and therefore uniquely positioned to oversee the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. Despite having the King’s blessing to do this however, the Jew’s still faced opposition from neighbouring antagonists such as the Samaritans. And yet the Jews were wholly committed to rebuilding the walls.
What I Reckon:
This passage is so cool.
It makes you feel more manly just reading it. Half the dudes are laying bricks, while the other half are walking around ready for battle. Some guys were lugging around pallets of building material in one hand and a sword in the other. Talk about committed.
But this passage is about so much more than just hard labour. These men were on a mission from God to restore the city of Jerusalem as it was prophesied before their exile. They were trusting in the Lord to guide them and they continually gave Him the glory.
It’s hard to know what these men would’ve looked like, but chances are they would’ve been pretty buff. If not at first, certainly by the time they were finished. They really smashed it out too, it only took 52 days.
It’s important to note that doing the work of the Lord, does not always mean becoming a pastor or Bible basher. Sometimes it’s as simple as going out and getting real work done. Sure we’re not fulfilling ancient prophecy by doing so, but the point stands. We are commanded to be salt and light. When we’re working hard – in whatever vocation we’ve chosen in life – we work as if we are working for the Lord, and that is being salt and light.
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).