As we close our 6-week study of Nehemiah, it is time to celebrate! Many Jews have returned from the exile, the temple has been rebuilt, the wall rebuilt in spite of great obstacles, and the people have returned to the Word of God and consecrated themselves to follow Him. (Nehemiah – A Time of Consecration)
To celebrate this grand occasion, Nehemiah plans a huge processional. He calls out the Levites to come into Jerusalem—
… to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres. Nehemiah 12:27
These were small harps, not sit-on-the-floor kind of harps like we have today. Think David-on-the-hillside kind of harp—one he could sling over his shoulder.
Groups of singers had built villages around Jerusalem. They, too, were called in to practice and form two large choirs. The two choirs met at a designated gate and split apart. One choir led the procession going south along with Ezra and half the leaders.
The other choir headed north with Nehemiah and the other half of the leaders. When the priests blew the trumpets, the procession began. Apparently, many (at least the choirs and leaders) processed on top of the wall. Others may have walked along side the wall. They planned to meet at the temple with all the wall builders and their families joining in.
I can just imagine the fun and excitement as the children skipped along, loving the vibrant musical atmosphere of singing and playing. Perhaps some women brought their tambourines as they danced behind the processional route.
Both groups finally met at “the house of God,” the temple.
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. Nehemiah 12:43
It is good to rejoice and be thankful, to celebrate wonderful happenings—weddings and anniversaries, birthdays and graduations, promotions, retirement, even in a quiet sort of way, we celebrate a life well-lived at the death of a dedicated loved one.
It is good to celebrate other accomplishments: learning to walk for the first time, learning to walk after an accident or surgery, moving a grade up from a C to an A, overcoming a sinful deed or an aggravating habit, having a breakthrough in a tedious project or completing a project, searching diligently for the Lord’s will then sensing that He has opened the door! Or even the simple joy of finally cleaning out a closet.
We may not have choirs and instruments or even parades at our victories, but let us determine to find something this week to celebrate and to give God thanksgiving and glory.
~ Joyce ~