Debra rounded off our series tonight.
She began by talking about competing voices – a time in the week when there were 2 sat navs going in the church, which one do we listen to?
God’s word to is the Bible, and Nehemiah kept having to come back to that, and call people back to what the Lord had said. 10:28 Now the rest of the people—the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone who had knowledge and understanding— these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes. At what age can a child understand and come into the things of God?
Josh 24:15 – Choose who you will serve! As for me AND MY HOUSE we will serve the Lord. That’s a mission statement – it means you will live different:
to be committed will affect your relationships. The Jewish people were told to keep their culture and lifestyle separate from those who did not have that same mission, or else it would end up deflecting them from his best for them.
It will affect your pocket: It’s making God Lord of our finances, giving back to the Lord from all he has given to us: …if the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt. Also we made ordinances for ourselves, to exact from ourselves yearly one-third of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: or the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the set feasts; for the holy things, for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and all the work of the house of our God. We cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for bringing the wood offering into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at the appointed times year by year, to burn on the altar of the LORD our God as it is written in the Law. And we made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the LORD; All this is about offering it all back to God. You can’t make Jesus Lord of all except your money. You may think you can’t afford to tithe? ‘As for me and my house…’ conflicts with that! You can’t afford not to. Making a serious commitment financially is part of your discipleship.
It’s our RESPONSIBILITY – that’s a word that comes again and again here. As people who belong to the house of God, will you also look after God’s house – or do you just want him to look after yours?
They say, ‘We will not neglect the house of our God.’
Chapter 11: Now the leaders of the people dwelt at Jerusalem; the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to dwell in Jerusalem, the holy city, and nine-tenths were to dwell in other cities. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.
10% of the people volunteered to go and move back into the city, even though it was still a mess! This is incarnational ministry, like the Eden workers going into the inner city in the name of Christ -to just love and serve in the hardest and most broken places. There’s a blessing that comes when we respond to a call like that.
Let’s pray for Eden, and whether we are called to that or not, we are ALL called to live a radical life for Jesus
verse 22: Also the overseer of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha, of the sons of Asaph, the singers in charge of the service of the house of God. 23 For it was the king’s command concerning them that a certain portion should be for the singers, a quota day by day. God talks about worship here: that we should give him thanks and praise.
It talks about one of Asaphs descendants; he was in charge of the worship teams, and Asaph was worship leader in David’s day; so one generation is passing something on to the next.
If you teach the laws of God unto your children you will pass on the blessings of faithfulness. There is a lot in Nehemiah about families worshipping together.
When something was achieved, many times in the Bible – there was an act of worship, celebration and purification: we see that again in Ch 12: 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… I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs.
Musicians came and stood on the walls, with 2 large choirs on them. That’s how big and strong the walls were! That’s worth singing about!
The people got the trumpets out – that’s significant; warfare instruments, that called people together. 1 Cor 15:52 – it’s associated with bringing the dead to life! God is blowing a trumpet over your sound, a clear sound that raises you. When the choirs come together, there will be a sound in the city that will be heard far and wide.
The choirs went in opposite directions round the walls, to dedicate the whole city to the Lord. People did this for 40 days around the M60 when it was completed!
vs 43- Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.
There is a sound that can be heard a long way off. It’s getting louder, this isn’t about volume. It’s about holiness, about people saying, ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…’ everyone could hear that.
We need to take the love of Jesus out into the streets. vs 46: For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God..
There had not been anything like that in 600 years – but when the people of God restored, rebuilt and they remembered the God who had done it and celebrated him, it affected generations after them.
When they celebrated his goodness and thanked him, great power was released! They often got a memorial stone and set it up as a visible reminder of a spiritual milestone. When Jacob did that, remembered that God had been with him, the name of the place – to the house of God.