November 18, Wednesday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from Nov. 16-22 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of Over the-Rhine Church (Cincinnati).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Nehemiah 12:27-31a (ESV):

And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. [28] And the sons of the singers gathered together from the district surrounding Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites; [29] also from Beth-gilgal and from the region of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem. [30] And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and they purified the people and the gates and the wall.

[31] Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks.

18When was the last time in your life that singing was the most appropriate response to an event?  At a wedding?  After the birth of a child?  In the car on the way to work?  Now life may not be one long Disney musical (thankfully? ha ha), but the Lord can and does give us a reason to sing.  In our passage, God fills the hearts of His people with praise.  Despite all the obstacles, the wall is rebuilt in a mere 52 days.  The threats of their enemies are harmless.  The promises of God are being fulfilled right before their eyes, and the only appropriate response is to have a worship celebration.

There is great gladness, thanksgiving, and singing; musical worship includes cymbals, harps and lyres (12:27).  Leaders of Israel and two choirs walk on top of the wall that was built (12:31)—the very wall that Tobiah said a fox could break down (4:3) supports dozens of people.

One choir sings from the north side of the city while the other sings from the south (12:31, 38).  Worship can be heard throughout the city as the two congregations meet at the temple (12:40).  Great sacrifices are made and all the people—men, women and children—rejoice with such a loud voice that worship can be heard from far off (12:43).

As the people consider the faithfulness of God, they are blessed with both thankful hearts and great hope.  On the one hand, God is present and active today in blessing His people; and on the other, He is not done and the best is certainly yet to come.

Imagine the people walking on the wall, their city still in need of restoration, singing of the day that the nations would gather at Zion to bring their offerings to the Lord.  May the acts of God in the past and the promises of God for the future give to us great joy and courage in the present!

Prayer

Father, put praises on the lips of your people!  May thanksgiving rise up in my heart for You have given me countless evidences of Your loving-kindness.  In times of trial, fix my eyes on Your coming kingdom that I might sing of my certain hope to come.

 Bible Reading for Today: Malachi 3

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Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 150 (ESV):

Let Everything Praise the Lord

            [1] Praise the LORD!

            Praise God in his sanctuary;

                        praise him in his mighty heavens!

            [2] Praise him for his mighty deeds;

                        praise him according to his excellent greatness!

            [3] Praise him with trumpet sound;

                        praise him with lute and harp!

            [4] Praise him with tambourine and dance;

                        praise him with strings and pipe!

            [5] Praise him with sounding cymbals;

                        praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

            [6] Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

            Praise the LORD!

Question to Consider

  1. Why should we praise the Lord?
  2. Where should the Lord be praised?
  3. Who should praise the Lord?

Notes

  1. For who He is (“his excellent greatness”), and what He has done (“his mighty deeds”).
  2. God should be praised in the sanctuary (the church as well as the heart of every believer), but He should also be praised in the heavens (in every corner of creation).
  3. Everyone! Everything that has the breath of life ought to praise its Maker, and one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord.

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Evening Reflection

Take a moment to reflect.  What things in your life make it difficult to sing the praises of God?  How can the great works that God has done in the past help encourage you?  How can the great promises He has for the future give you hope?

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