This chapter is filled with a rundown of who lives within the newly rebuilt walls of Jerusalem and who lives on the outskirts of the city. The one thought that captured my attention was the fact that the only tribes mentioned were those of Judah and Benjamin. We must remember that Israel was made up of twelve tribes based on the twelve sons of Jacob. Since the Levites were designated as priests, they no longer served as one of the twelve so Joseph received two tribes, one for each of his sons. Of the twelves sons, only three remain -- Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. Why? The simple answer is sin. When the nation split, Israel never once returned to the Lord. They spent hundreds of years neglecting Yahweh and worshiping every other god they could find. When God sent the Assyrians to punish them, the tribes were either killed off or taken captive. Those taken captive eventually morphed into the culture of their captors never to return to prominence in Jewish history. The heartbreak of such a truth is real, because these people allowed sin to destroy their heritage and their hope for the future. Can sin still devastate in that way? It definitely can and will if we give it prominence in our lives. Calling yourself a Christ-follower and living in complete rebellion towards Him will bring devastation and destruction to your life. It happened to the ten tribes of Israel, and it will happen to you.

Help me, Lord, to serve and worship You and not allow sin to dominate my thoughts, attitudes or actions. Help me to always remember what You have done for me and to live in gratitude for Your grace, mercy, and love.