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#217 – Rejoicing with Great Joy (Nehemiah 12:43)

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Nehemiah 12:42. It says, “They offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced for God had made them rejoice with great joy. The women and children also rejoiced and the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.” I mean, how many times can you mention joy in one verse? Five different times in one verse. This picture of rejoicing, “They offered great sacrifices that day … Rejoice. God made them rejoice with great joy. The women and children rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.” The whole picture here is now that the walls have been built, they take like choirs of singers, and people with instruments, and they climb up on the walls, and they do this procession around the walls where they’re just singing, and shouting, and dancing, and playing music. It’s loud music so that the nations around Jerusalem can hear this noise of a people who are celebrating their God.

In Christ, we have been given a joy that supercedes circumstances.

It is an awesome picture and it makes me think about all kinds of Psalms where we see the Psalmist singing with great joy, with loud songs of joy. There should be times in our life and particularly in the church, when yes, there’s times for mourning, there’s times for reflection, there’s times for quiet meditation, there’s times for calm singing even, but then there’s time for loud rejoicing, shouting, dancing before God in our lives, in the church, as we declare the wonders and the glory of God. There is much to rejoice over. I just love how there’s been a lot of pain and a hardship all throughout the book of Nehemiah, but as we’re getting to the end, what we see is Nehemiah chapter 12 verse 43 like fives time in one verse, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy. God, we thank you. We thank you for the joy you give. You are life giving. Your grace is life giving. Your mercy is overwhelming. It causes our hearts to erupt in worship, in praise.

We overflow with gratitude, thanksgiving, and we say together loudly, we sing together, God you are great and greatly to be praised. You provide for your people. You take care of your people. You help your people. You glorify yourself by pouring out grace upon your people. You love your people so well. You love us so well, so may we be a rejoicing people in our lives, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. We think about Romans chapter five, how you’ve given us a joy that supersedes circumstances, that nothing in this world can take away from us. Oh God, may it be so. May there be a joy in us even in suffering and hardship. Just think about Nehemiah, obviously this was not easy for them, and so many things. I think about people that are praying this right now that are going through really hard times. God, I pray for joy in them. Pray for joy in our lives individually like this, and then in the church as we gather together.

May we be a joyful people in such a way that just like the nations heard this rejoicing and singing from far away, we pray that people who don’t know you would see joy in our lives, would see joy in the church, and would cause people to come to know your joy, to come to know the love that’s found in you that does indeed transcend even dark and difficult days in this world. God, we pray that we’d be a rejoicing people just like this in Nehemiah chapter 12 verse 43. In Jesus name we pray, Amen. 

David Platt
David Platt is the president of the International Mission Board (IMB), Teaching Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington D.C., and founder of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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