Each summer this nation views a massive collection of fireworks, picnics, parades, flag waving, and concerts for the purpose of dedicating and celebrating the founding of this nation. When I was a little boy in White Pine, Tennessee, the biggest celebration all year was the Piney Festival, and it was for Independence Day. We would have booths, food, a parade, fireworks, and concerts.
I spent much of my life and adult years in Warner Robins, Georgia which is a town of about 75,000 with an Air Force Base that employees approximately 20,000. The biggest event all year is at McConell-Talbert Stadium, and it is to celebrate Independence Day.
We celebrate the coming into existence of our nation. This is a dedication of sorts that we in America do every year. Things that are of critical and important nature are celebrated and dedicated by us with ceremony and big events.
Dedicating and celebrating are elements we see in biblical times as well, especially through the Old Testament. Crossing of the Red Sea was a celebration with a song written and sung by Miriam, the sister of Moses. Building the tent of meeting for Israel was celebrated and dedicated. The re-entry into Israel under David for the Ark of the Covenant saw a celebration and dance party by King David himself. The final construction of the Temple for Israel saw a massive dedication with King Solomon. The re-establishing of the temple worship under King Josiah led to a worship service and dedication. The rebuilding of the temple with Ezra warranted a dedication. And now, the rebuilding of the walls under Nehemiah.
God’s people can learn some steps about celebration and dedication from the celebration of this wall rebuilding. A project accomplished by God’s people is a project dedicated to the praise and glory of God. Consider five steps we might take to dedicate and celebrate God’s work for His glory and praise?
Nehemiah was the cup bearer to the king and was powerful, influential, and wealthy. When we met Nehemiah in chapter 1, he was a lover of God and of God’s city Jerusalem. He learned of the destroyed walls. He requested a leave of absence from King Artaxerxes, who was the ruler of Persia.
Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem with a team of his, and in a matter of 52 weeks, he led a rebuilding of the wall. By the time we arrive at Nehemiah 8, the post rebuild ceremonies are taking place including – the Feast of Tabernacles in chapter 8 and the worship service of Scripture and repentance in chapters 9-10.
By chapter 11, the residents inside the city walls were few & it was discouraging and dangerous to the people. For that reason, 1 of every 10 Jews living outside were chosen to move inside the city. By 12:27 the Jerusalem residents were chosen, Levites were brought into the city to lead a dedication service, and the dedication service for the wall began.
It is in this dedication service that God’s people today can learn some things about dedicating and celebrating our accomplishments to the glory and praise of God. Whether it is a large project, raising children, gathering for Sunday worship, or going to work, this passage can teach a few thoughts about effectively living life to dedicate and celebrate our victories to our Savior.
Step 1: An Intentional Planning of Worship:12:27-30
Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, from the house of Gilgal, and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built themselves villages all around Jerusalem. Then the priests and Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, the gates, and the wall.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, worship is something that should be consistent and spontaneous. Oftentimes, worship can be spontaneous when we gather with other believers. Yet, most times, to be serious about seeing God magnified and praised in a corporate worship setting, we want to plan and be very intentional about it. Intentional planning of worship is NOT failure to depend on the Holy Spirit but it is passion to see God clearly magnified.
While worship is often spontaneous, I have found that my spontaneous worship is more powerful when I have consistently and intentionally planned to worship as well. What have you done to plan to worship this coming week – Monday through next Sunday? What is your plan for daily worship in prayer & God’s Word? Is it 20 minutes earlier to bed, or maybe 20 minutes up earlier? What is your plan for being sure your family is in worship with other believers this coming week?