Great Joy- Nehemiah 11 and 12
Nehemiah 11 tells us how some people volunteered and some people were chosen by lot to live in Jerusalem and help build it up. Their names are listed. It is interesting to note that we don't know which ones volunteered and which were chosen but that they were obedient to do what was asked. Chapter 11 and part of 12 also list the Levites and Priests that would be involved in the work of the temple and the keeping of the gates. I find it interesting to note that the job of some of the Levites was to lead in thanksgiving and prayer. What a neat job but what a great responsibility! Then in the last part of Nehemiah 12, the wall is dedicated. This is no small affair. There are two choirs that proceed in opposite directions on top of the wall and meet at the corner where the temple is. Certain 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." (Neh. 12:27) The celebration was a whole family affair with children and women joining in joyfully. In verse 43, it says that "the sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away." Sounds like a glimpse of heaven on earth and an event that I would love to be a part of.
This passage reminded me again that joy of the Lord is my strength. (Neh. 8:10) It also made me ask where is my joy? Is it hidden in the busyness of everyday living? Is my lack of thanksgiving holding it back? Do I take the time to celebrate with joy what God has done? Am I so focused on the world that I fail to see the joy in God's creation and the work he is doing around me?
May my family and friends see the joy of the Lord in me. Joy can't be forced or manufactured. Joy can only come from a heart that is thankful before God and submitted to what He has for me. May I have that heart today.
Dear God of all creation, Today I give you praise for all you do each and everyday. I give you my burdens. I give you my cares. May your joy be my strength today. I also pray for this land that your joy will come in and change the hearts of the people here through the power of Jesus blood shed on the cross. I pray that one day the sound of true rejoicing will ring forth from this land and bring glory to your name. In Jesus your son's name, Amen