As I dug in to this chapter, I had to really ask the Lord to show me the significance of these lists of names and numbers of family members who returned. It seems like a chapter that doesn’t have any particular spiritual significance, beyond the larger context of the return from exile.
But here is the detail God drew my attention to:
There were over 42,000 people, but only about 8,000 total horses, mules, camels, and donkeys. So the vast majority of the exiles returning were walking every step of the way from Babylon to Jerusalem. That’s almost 900 miles and took about four months for the huge caravan to travel through all kinds of harsh conditions.
That’s about the same as if I walked from my house to Saint Louis, Missouri. Halfway across the United States.
How far would I be willing to walk to follow God?
But that was just the first revelation.
Then God drew my attention to their freewill offerings of 1,000 pounds of gold and 3 tons of silver. I’m thinking some of them would have been perfectly justified in spending that gold or silver on a new donkey. Maybe one with AC and a sunroof.
These followers of God had lost everything when they were exiled and had to struggle to survive, but upon seeing God’s salvation, they were ready to give it all back to Him!
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21