Apologies for this late post. I was with a friend having a baby the last day and a half and I am jet now waking up from my recovery sleep! Nehemiah 12 is an awesome chapter, but I simply couldn't focus with my sleep-deprived brain! OK, lets take a look at it now!
DAY 12 STUDY TIME!
Nehemiah 12 is most known for the dedication ceremony of the walls, but for me, it has always been about the Thanksgiving Choirs. I always wondered what that really meant to the people of that day. Did "thanksgiving" mean literally singing "thank you"? Let's take a look at this remarkable ceremony.
READ CHAPTER 12
What a procession that took place in Chapter 12! This was the dedication of all that had been rebuilt and established. Below is a map I found online (click image to go to the blog source) of the processional route of the choirs.
For a long time I have pondered, I mean several years, what a "Thanksgiving Choir" must have looked at. Maybe that was what a "choir" was in the first place? Perhaps the original idea of a choir was this. In order to magnify the praise to God (remember this was before we had large speakers and sound systems to amplify the sound) A "choir" was simply a group in sync delivering a message? A message that all the neighboring cities could hear?
So as Im thinking about this, I'm also considering that there was "large voices" coupled with "trumpets". Trumpets always represented an "alert" or "announcement". So the trumpets are announcing here, the "thanks" and praise being given to God. What a beautiful picture.
Perhaps it isn't common in a lot of places, but at our church we always begin our worship time with a "thanksgiving offering", a few minutes before the worship music to prepare our hearts with thanksgiving. Some people might not be aware of what we are doing and why. This chapter actually is the foundational scripture for establishing a culture of people who worship God and keep God at the center of their lives. And at the very heart of the culture, is a people who offer thanks. Thanksgiving says, "I acknowledge that God is responsible for every good thing, that is comes from Him." Thanksgiving positions us in humility. It is the place where we see God as the one who is in charge of us, and He rules the kingdom. I liked how it was said in the previous post, "HE is the owner of the property, and we are the tenants." When we give thanks we acknowledge He is the provider, the center of our universe.
REFLECTIONS FOR TODAY
Of course this chapter I have spent so much time on personally that I really would like to hear from others about it. So today, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the following:
- How often does your prayer time look like "thanksgiving"? I mean, where you aren't asking God for anything, or telling God your struggles or worries, where your just thanking Him?
- Do you spend time singing "thanks" to the Lord? What do you think is the difference between "saying" thanks and "singing" thanks? Is there a difference?
Father, teach my heart to be centered and anchored in thanksgiving. Help my heart when I feel weak to remember all that You have done, all that you are, and stir my heart to remember and give thanks. Lord, today I thank You for drawing me back to the very heart of the culture of Your kingdom. Just as your people here in Nehemiah did, I want my life to be build on the foundations of thanksgiving. Expand my heart to look up and to see all Your goodness and mercy towards me. I thank You for all that You are, good, pleasing, perfect, and worthy God. In Jesus Name, Amen.