(Today’s post by Chris Queen)
I don’t know how anyone can claim that the Bible is not a historical document, because it’s full of chapters like the first half of Nehemiah 12. Yes, this chapter starts off with one of those lists of names that make your eyes glaze over – or ties up your tongue if you try to read them out loud. But passages like this – boring as they are – are important because we see the real people behind these powerful stories.
But the second half of the chapter is where the action is. What did the people of Israel do once the wall was complete? They worshiped, of course!
27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres.28 The musicians also were brought together from the region around Jerusalem—from the villages of the Netophathites, 29 from Beth Gilgal, and from the area of Geba and Azmaveth, for the musicians had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. 30 When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall.
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, toward the Dung Gate.
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.
44 At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites. 45 They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did also the musicians and gatekeepers, according to the commands of David and his son Solomon.
The Israelites, full of joy at the restoration of their city and their faith, worshiped! Of course, the idea is that worship isn’t meant to be an event, but a way of life.
God intended for His people then – as He does today – to look at life in general as an act of worship. Do you live your life that way? Do you wait for special occasions to express your gratitude? Do you wait for opportunities to come your way to engage in worship? Or do you see all areas of your life as acts of worship? What can you do to steer your life in that direction?