Daily Word

Singers sought | Nehemiah 12:27-30 (NLT)

27 For the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem, the Levites throughout the land were asked to come to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies. They were to take part in the joyous occasion with their songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres. 28 The singers were brought together from the region around Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites. 29 They also came from Beth-gilgal and the rural areas near Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built their own settlements around Jerusalem. 30 The priests and Levites first purified themselves; then they purified the people, the gates, and the wall.

Nehemiah 12:27-30 (NLT)

Back to the narrative

The interlude of the past two days which provided a list of returnees is complete. Now Nehemiah provides details of the dedication of the wall. “This portion of the book resumes the historical narrative in chronological order from 11:2 where it stopped. Probably the dedication took place soon after the covenant renewal ceremonies (chs. 8—10).” (planobiblechapel.org)

Singers sought

To do a dedication right, there has to be thanksgiving and worship. To do thanksgiving and worship right in those days, there had to be Levites and singers whose sole job was to lead corporate worship. God appointed the Levites to manage temple duties and upkeep – including song-leading. The priests were a subset who administered the sacrificial system. King David appointed another group of singers. These all were sought from all areas around Jerusalem to come and lead the worship.

Purification

What we don’t want to miss is Step 1: Purification. The NLT emphasizes that it was done first: “The priests and Levites first purified themselves…”, the people, gates and wall. Our God is holy (Revelation 4:1–8, Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:15-16). We are called to be likewise holy. Believers are already forgiven but we still need to confess and repent from sin to restore our relationship with God and be cleansed.

Our corporate worship

Now let’s examine our worship. Today we don’t have an entire group of people dedicated to leading corporate worship. Most churches have volunteer song leaders or worship “teams”. In some larger churches, there are people dedicated as song leaders. “There is a huge difference between being a great singer and being a great leader of songs of worship to God. Worship should be excellent, but it isn’t entertainment. The goal isn’t to give the people a good feeling (though that may happen), but to give glory and honor to God.” (enduringword.com)

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