ou may never find another illustration of tithing quite like this one in Nehemiah 11. It's not monetary donations that we are reading about here though. People were tithing people. The people living in the cities around Jerusalem quite literally tithed of their citizenry to fill their capital city with a sufficient populace to sustain its viability (Nehemiah 11:1). Interestingly, there were both divine and human elements to the selection of who would move into the Holy City. They cast lots; that is, they used a random method of selection, recognizing that it would be both fair and faithy (Proverbs 16:33). Yet Nehemiah 11:2 says that the folks who plucked up and transferred into the city did so willingly, not begrudgingly. They were not coerced.
Much of this chapter is devoted to specifying which families in Israel contributed citizens. Jerusalem was populated with peoples from the tribes of Levi, Benjamin and Judah. But, is there a principle that we can glean from this part of Nehemiah's story? There are several. 1) Sacrifice: we should be willing to sacrifice ourselves, or even harder... people that we love, if that is what it takes for the promotion of true worship. 2) Growth: sometimes in our attempts at humility and piety we can be guilty of excusing powerlessness and a lack of corporate vision. Every living thing that I can think of experiences growth of some kind. Growth is generally an indication of health... not always, but usually it is. 3) Direction: they used randomizers to determine God's will back in the Old Testament times. The indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ in every believer in this age now precludes the need signs and proofs. We are led by His Spirit (Romans 8:14).