December 8, 2016
Read: Nehemiah 12:27–43
Bible in a Year: Daniel 8–10; 3 John
The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.—Nehemiah 12:43
Walt Disney Studios was the first to introduce a new concept in listening to movies. It was called “stereophonic sound” or surround sound, and it was developed because producers wanted the movie-going audience to hear the music in a new way.
But this wasn’t the first use of “surround sound.” Thousands of years earlier, Nehemiah introduced the idea at the dedication of the rebuilt wall of Jerusalem. “I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall,” he explained. “I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks” (Neh. 12:31). The two choirs began at the southern part of the wall, at the Dung Gate. One went to the left, one went to the right, and they surrounded the city of Jerusalem in praise as they marched toward the temple (vv. 31, 37-40).
The choirs led the people in rejoicing because “God had given them great joy” (v. 43). In fact, their rejoicing “could be heard far away” (v. 43).
Their praise resulted from God’s help as the people overcame the opposition of enemies like Sanballat and rebuilt the wall. What has God given us that causes our joy to overflow into praise? God’s clear direction in our lives? The comfort He alone can provide in times of trouble? Or our ultimate gift: salvation?
Perhaps we can’t create “surround sound” with our praise, but we can rejoice in the joy God has given us. Then others can hear us praise God and see how He works.
We praise You, O Lord—with words, with song, and with our lives. We offer You our hearts in response to Your great power, loving provision, and constant care.
We can never praise Jesus too much!
INSIGHT: Nehemiah spearheaded a magnificent public music celebration. Four types of musical instruments are identified in verses 27 and 35—cymbals, harps, lyres, and trumpets. Cymbals are an example of metal percussion instruments. Like drums, cymbals usually help sustain a musical beat. Also included were harps and lyres. Harps may have been smaller than lyres and less lavish (2 Chron. 9:11). Trumpets (Neh. 12:35, 41) were the wind instruments. These were not the curvy rams’ horns or shofars, but were straight metal horns used for assembling armies and ambushes (Num. 10:1-10; 2 Chron. 5:12). Jim Townsend
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