Summary: Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the City for GOD, what are we building. Worship must be joyful.
The Joy of Celebration (outline)
The Berlin Wall: The city of Berlin, Germany will be forever famous for its infamous Wall. When the wall was still in existence, you could walk up and down in front of the wall and see shrines dedicated to those that were killed trying to escape from the oppression of the East to the freedom of the West. The Berlin wall gained fame as a wall that divided, but the city of Jerusalem is also famous for its walls. In Nehemiah’s time the wall united people together.
This was a time of celebration. The word used here in Hebrew is hanakkah. The word is translated “Dedication.” The dedication of the wall culminates the efforts of the people under Nehemiah’s inspired leadership. Great enthusiasm must have characterized their march to the joyful music. This similar to the dedication of Solomon’s Temple in 1 Kings 8, the rededication of the Zerubbabel’s Temple in Ezra 6, and the recapture and rededication of the Temple from the Seleucids by Maccabee’s during the intertestament time. The latter is the traditional celebration of Hanakkah.
Celebration should be planned by not ritualized. It should be an expression of worship, praise, adoration, humility, and gratitude. Cymbals, Harps, Lyres were all used in this celebration and in the celebrations mentioned earlier. Instruments were a significant part of the worship. What is the difference between a Harp and lyre, the strings were similar lengths but the diameter of the strings were different, the lyre used wider strings.
Netophathites were from a town near Bethlehem called Netophah. Probably professional singers.
Now that the Praise band was in place, there is a ritual mentioned here that is often overlooked. The priest purified themselves and the people.
Whenever we gather for worship, we must purify ourselves in order to enter into the presence of the HOLY ONE.
1. There is no ritual today that can make us pure enough to enter into God’s presence.
2. We are purified by the Blood of the Lamb.
3. They purified themselves by going through a rigorous washing ceremony
4. They abstained from certain practices in order to keep themselves ceremonially clean.
5. We enter into the presence of God every time we gather for worship.
a. We purify ourselves by Baptism (ceremonial washing)
b. Entering with a repentant and humble heart
c. Realizing it is all about HIM and not about US.
d. We are privileged to do so because of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The procession was a solemn procession. We take part of a solemn procession every time we enter to worship. Not so much as to enter into this place with quietness as though this place is solemn, but that we are entering into the presence of God, no matter where we are, and that makes the place HOLY.
When Moses walked upon the mountain, what made the ground, which he stood Holy Ground, the fact that God was there. What made the area of the tent Holy, the fact that God was there. True worship is not a matter of the place, it is a matter of the heart. Spiritually we enter into the presence of Almighty God and we should enter into that place with reverence.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
I know this passage is about the workplace, but consider this, worship is something we work at, are we doing to please God or to please man? Worship is something we should work at with all our heart, because we are doing it for the LORD. We sing, we are singing for the LORD, it does not matter if we have what man may consider good voices, what matters is the heart and what God thinks, he says MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE.
Instrument playing, okay that might be difficult, music is inspiring, someone not gifted to play shouldn’t, maybe, we might ask who is this blessing, if it is done with the right heart and the right attitude it is blessing GOD.
We are to honor God with our best effort. He deserves our best, after all He gave us His best. Again the idea is attitude, who are we doing it for, God or man?
(read verse 43-47)
God has provided the strength to build the wall, He provided the material, He provided the protection.
1. Because they understood this, the celebration, the praise, the sacrifices, were great, they were worshipping a Great GOD.
2. Their praise could be heard from miles around.
3. They brought all the tithes with glad and joyful hearts.
4. They sang their hearts out.
Does our worship please GOD?
Check the heart, it may need replacing.