“31 I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks. One was to proceed on top of the wall to the right, towards the Dung Gate. 32 Hoshaiah and half the leaders of Judah followed them, 33 along with Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, 35 as well as some priests with trumpets, and also Zechariah son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micaiah, the son of Zakkur, the son of Asaph, 36 and his associates – Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah and Hanani – with musical instruments prescribed by David the man of God. Ezra the teacher of the Law led the procession. 37 At the Fountain Gate they continued directly up the steps of the City of David on the ascent to the wall and passed above the site of David’s palace to the Water Gate on the east.38 The second choir proceeded in the opposite direction. I followed them on top of[c] the wall, together with half the people – past the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall, 39 over the Gate of Ephraim, the Jeshanah Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate. At the Gate of the Guard they stopped.40 The two choirs that gave thanks then took their places in the house of God; so did I, together with half the officials, 41 as well as the priests – Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah and Hananiah with their trumpets – 42 and also Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malkijah, Elam and Ezer. The choirs sang under the direction of Jezrahiah. 43 And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.
In this wonderful depiction of the procession to the temple, I noticed these two small details:
‘’Ezra the scribe led the procession’’ (36b).
‘’I followed them on top of the wall…’’ (38a).
‘’The two choirs that gave thanks then took their places in the house of God; so did I, together with half the officials…’’ (40).
We know that Ezra and Nehemiah were strong, big-name leaders. But here they were among the people, taking their place in the crowd. Their leadership had significantly helped to bring about this moment, but they did not dominate the occasion. They did not tell everyone else what to do while they stood apart from it. They led by example.
Leadership in the footsteps of Jesus is not just by word but by deed, not only by exhortation but by example. So may God help us all for ‘’…who is equal to such a task?’’ (2 Corinthians 2:16).
Leaders and led are on level ground in the ‘temple’ – before God and at the foot of Christ’s Cross.