Nehemiah: Day 18

We Dedicated the Wall

by

Today's Text: Nehemiah 12:27-47, Hebrews 13:15, Revelation 19:1-8

Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 12:27-47, Hebrews 13:15, Revelation 19:1-8

I love parties. Love them. Any excuse to celebrate is good enough for me. New baby, new job, new spouse, new house, renovated house, new car, reupholstered car, birthday, anniversary, church holiday, national holiday—doesn’t matter. I’m here for the celebration. There’s something special about gathering with a group of people for a purpose that isn’t work-related, where the only objective is to have a great time. I have to admit, I’ve walked past a group of strangers having a party at a restaurant and secretly wished I could take part in their merry-making.

In reading today’s passage, I was happy to see I’m not the only one who likes to have a good time. When the wall was completed and the time came to dedicate the fruit of their labor to the Lord, the Jews held nothing back—and they were well within their rights! “On that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced because God had given them great joy” (Nehemiah 12:43).

The wall had been rebuilt despite external threats and internal fatigue. And chile, if those folks didn’t rejoice! There were choirs and cymbals and harps and singers rocking the house with their jubilant praise. The people sang and offered sacrifices to God with great joy—praise that was heard far and wide.

It’s a sincere prayer of mine today that I would learn to look on achievements, victories, and answered prayers with that same exuberance. I don’t want to look back on an answered prayer and think, Welp! I’m glad that’s over with! and quickly rush on to other matters. I want to see every triumph for what it is: a victory won by my great and glorious God. I want to take time to honor God by celebrating His works and plans and victories well.

And Scripture tells us the Jewish people did just that, rejoicing like wild over a wall. They lifted a resounding praise that neighboring cities could hear because of a wall. To those other cities and nations, rebuilding a wall might have been an insignificant accomplishment, maybe something to jot down in a history book for posterity’s sake, but nothing major. But for the people of God, the rebuilding of the wall meant something.

It meant increased protection from enemies who would try to conquer Jerusalem.
It meant that their God hadn’t forsaken them, even though they’d sinned against Him.
It meant that He still dwelt in their holy city and would continue to fight for them.

I’m assuming that, after years in exile, that kind of knowledge was life-giving and joy-fueling for God’s people. I imagine it continued to bring them joy as they remembered it years later. This passage makes me want to do the same, to consider and reconsider God’s hand in my life, to look again and again for His goodness and power at work on my behalf. It also makes me want to learn how to celebrate—really celebrate—those victories, achievements, and even (seemingly) unanswered prayers in such a way that my joy can be heard far and wide.  

Because if my joy can be seen or heard coming from a mile away, my neighbors and friends will start to wonder, What’s she so happy about? Which may just lead to, How can I have the kind of joy she has? And when asked, I can confidently point them to the great and glorious God who gives me the victory in Him, again and again and again.

SRT-Nehemiah-Shareimage-Day18

Erin Rose lives and works in vibrant Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as Worship & Teaching Pastor at East End Fellowship.  She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Erin is a member of Urban Doxology, a ministry that is writing the soundtrack of reconciliation for the church. Her greatest joy lies in leading God’s people in authentic worship, and teaching them the truth found in God’s Word. She also enjoys eating delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and indulging in the occasional Netflix binge.

  • Shelby Lynn

    Whew, AMEN! As I need to focus on the good God has done in my life. Letting go of the crutch of a broken childhood and LOOK at the door of opportunities my God brought to me to help me get out and rise above! Letting go of hurt to find the love of my Heavenly Father in my husband.

  • I love it when these studies and the sermons at my church overlap! They did such a thing this week. My pastor’s words this Sunday clarified so much of this for me. I now see that the Israelites were so incredibly joyful over the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem not only because it was the ‘holy city’, but also due in part to the fact that Nehemiah took responsibility for Israel’s actions while he was still a cupbearer. Then after the walls were rebuilt, the Israelites all gathered together and repented (for they had fallen away from God once again and that was why the city was allowed to be destroyed and left in ruins for about 100 years). Anything that God restores in our lives should be cause for celebration, but I think we don’t celebrate these things enough because it’s hard to shake off the weight of the world. We get so caught up in the drudgery of the mundane in our lives that we overlook some of that restoration (because God’s hand in our lives is not always glaringly obvious). It is my hope that one day I will be more attuned to God’s movements in my life and the lives of others so that we may rejoice the way we were meant to.

  • My sister is having the most horrible time….her marriage….her husband’s ongoing mental issues….her job and it’s travel requirements. I often stop and pray for her at random times during the day and give thanks for my own life. It’s not perfect but we’re all safe and healthy and we’re so blessed to have that.

    • Julie

      I will pray for your sister and her husband! Blessings to them as they navigate this challenging time. I too am working through some things. I just found these 2 verses and they are providing me comfort. The Lord himself will fight for you just stay calm Exodus 14:14 and He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4. God has them covered! How nice of you to keep them in continuous prayer. Blessings to you!

  • Katie Riegel

    I feel like sometimes I definitely don’t rejoice enough! God answers a prayer and I say thanks and move on to the next issue at hand.
    I had a long year last year praying and wrestling with my heart and with God. I wanted another child but my husband did not. I had many people tell me to just be happy to have two healthy children. I was happy, extremely happy – but I couldn’t quell the aching desire to continue to grow our family. It was very hard on both me and my man. But everything is in Gods timing and eventually he softened my husbands heart and here I am 5 months pregnant with our third child and 2nd baby boy. It may not seem huge to some people but its huge to me and the whole process helped me grow so much closer to God and gain a better understanding of him and his love! Praise God for his great works of love! I pray that I can constantly look for things to rejoice about and focus more on being thankful and appreciative. God is good!

  • I was struck today by the thought of such joyous, abandoned worship amidst the danger. Just b/c the wall was completed didn’t mean the opposition melted away like in a movie. The last couple days talked about trepidation to live within the city. There were still enemies all around and among them. And still they worshipped.
    May we worship amidst the struggles. Among our “enemies” & amidst the arrows hurled at us by THE enemy. Amidst our pain and confusion, our doubts and our questions. That we would look up and immediately fall prostrate to declare “Holy, holy, holy!”. That “ With Jesus’ help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name.” (Hebrew 13:15). Amen!

    • Amy

      So lovely. Thank you for sharing!

    • Karen Kilps

      I love this insight that you shared. I want my faith to be so strong as this, that I would still rejoice and praise God even in the midst of the danger.

    • Heather Totten

      Yes! Yes! God showed me one time that it is Praise that overcomes the darkness! The more we give the sacrifice of praise (and I say sacrifice because it’s not always easy) the more Christ is exhaulted overall and not the darkness and problem. I believe 2 cron 20 is the verse that hit that lesson home for me.

  • These messages always seem to convict me right where I need it. Sometimes I can be very bad about just simply giving God a thank you and going on my way instead of really taking time to worship God and honor what He has done for me. This was such a wonderful reminder that every answered prayer is cause for a celebration!

  • Renee Lauterbach

    Rejoicing that His mercies are new every morning!!

  • There is so much to hold onto in this message today. Am I recognizing each triumph of God in my life through answered or seemingly unanswered prayers? Am I rejoicing in my countless blessings so that all around me will know the source of my joy? Am I doing all that I can to help others know my Lord and Savior? Today, I will rejoice in the Lord for all that He has done in my life and I pray that I will lead others to His joy also.

  • Thank you for this perspective! I think sometimes we feel celebrations are too much work or unnecessary, but this is a great reminder as to why they are important.

  • My heart needed this today, so much. Last night, my family got some pretty devastating news and it’s coming on the crest of an upcoming major surgery next week, me traveling across the country next week, and many other stressful things right now.

    I was praying last night for God to provide and bring back joy into my heart, and then this morning, I read about joy being heard far away from Jerusalem as they celebrated God’s providence and their perseverance. Thank you She Reads Truth! This was beautiful and a great start to my day! ❤️

  • Kelly Chataine

    My husband and I have been on a rough road since October 10th, however, we have so much to be thankful for and we praise God for His neverending provision, love, and grace! I think it is time that we celebrate and fill our home with more praise to God!

  • Amanda Oicle

    There are so many beautiful messages we can write from this story. I, personally, have done damage to my own wall but whenever I am ready to rebuild it God provides everything I need, and then I feel joy. And when my wall is strong the people in my life benefit, too. Praise to a God who always provides.

  • I love celebration, as well, especially that which means one of my children saved. Since the moment I found out I was pregnant with each one I promised God that I would not halt in my sharing of Him with them. Promised that I would raise them in His ways and guide them to know Him personally.

    My middle child turned 13 yesterday! And with each year, I am more and more thankful for the work God has done in our lives through her. I’ve shared many times the story of her birth, areas that God has moved in her life directly and difficulties related to her autism and anxiety. I have known hat the enemy would chase our girl from day one and seven months ago it was revealed that she was dealing with a new set of very serious difficulties and my heart broke for her. We battened down the hatches and went to work on healing, praying and sharing God more and more and the past 5 months have been beautiful. I felt like we had our sweet daughter back and she has been genuinely joy-filled. God has gifted her so many opportunities to see Him in this time, even through the very unexpected loss of her mostly companion, her “emotional support”, her sweet pup of ten years. I can’t truly put words to what He’s done for her, it has been beautiful to see.

    For the past two weeks, she has participated in a horse camp that helps young girls to know their purpose in life. It works to connect them closely with God in the every day. This is also an avenue God provided entirely for her, as it is an expensive experience and we were gifted the spot for her in a unique way that spoke to her heart. Last night, she told me that she decided she was going to be baptized today in a creek on one of their trails. Instantly, I was elated, this is vindication. We spoke about what it meant and I told her I was proud that she had come to the decision. Time and again last night (and throughout the ten days), she told me that the leader of her group is amazing (she is). She’s shared statements this wonderful women has spoken, scripture she has shared and ideas …. instantly, my heart became confused and hurt (I think it a little progressive over the two weeks) because these statements are very much things I have said consistently over the years, so much so that my eldest asked if my middle remembered. Reality sunk in, as I listened to my daughter share her great love over this wonderful woman and how she attributes this woman, almost entirely, with her choosing Christ, and I felt like my words over the years didn’t matter. I realized instantly I wasn’t going to be able to see my girl that I have held since she was two pounds “washed by the water”. I wasn’t going to be part of the immediate celebration, I wasn’t going to be the one hugging her after, and I wasn’t going to be the one standing beside her, I wasn’t even going to be in the crowd of girls. I shook it off, knowing that it is the coming to Christ I should be happy for, the choosing relationship with Him I should be celebrating but last night I struggled with the envy and sadness surrounding what feels like a lifetime of work to celebrate, a day I have longed to see, snatched. I KNOW this isn’t true, I know it is the enemy creeping in but I can’t put words to it and so here, where it is safe for me to share, I ask for prayer to soften my heart, to ease this ache I feel and to provide a way to celebrate my daughter turning to Christ today (she is a once and done kind of kid, she doesn’t like us to make big deals of things). I don’t want to appear selfish, I know this isn’t about me, I know this my daughter’s day and I fully support her but it has been such a long road, so many heartaches and hurts and work and now a great victory in her life, that I have waited for. I just looked forward to the moment I would see this happen and I’m missing it entirely. My girl is a such a treasure, I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in her and for her! Please pray to settle my heart and right it, to remind me all that it is actually about. Thanks all!

    • ~ B ~

      Sorry for my lack of brevity today folks, clearly I am overflowing today. :) Thanks for bearing with me. ~ B

      • Courtney

        Praying for you and your daughter this wonderful day! Praying that The Lord would soften your heart …as you continue to be the wonderful mother He has created you to be! Prayers for your sweet girl as she makes this beautiful decision. Thank you SO much for sharing your heart and story. ❤️

    • Susan

      I will be praying for you this day! As a mom I get these feeling, totally! Distance has separated me from sharing in some BIG days in my kids lives and my heart aches for me missing out. Yet I know there is a bigger story being written and I too will have time to celebrate with them as will you. Remember this other woman does not replace you as mom in your daughters life. Even though she may be sharing in a huge moment that you wanted to be a part of, there will be others just as significant that you will share with her. I am sincerely lifting you up in prayer at this very moment. I pray you have a blessed day!

    • MiniM

      Thanks for opening your heart and sharing your joy and heartache. Praying for you as you navigate this time in your daughter’s life. Praying for peace and contentment. Your vulnerability (today and other days) always is a blessing to me!

    • Tina

      My dearest Betsy…I ache with your ache, your pain…of this journey you guys have been on to be snatched from you..
      There are things we do in life of which we do not see to the completion we hoped… But God. He sees. He knows and He is with you both.. One for the baptism that will wholly make her His… the other to soften her heart and say Thank you B~ for guiding my child thus far, for instilling in her my Word and teaching which has been the mustard seed that has grown to bring her to this discision..
      Is it always not the way that a stranger can make that last push of years of teaching.. that ‘penny drop moment..’
      Friend, sister… praying God be with you today in your hurt.. in your sadness at not being there to witness your young one baptized.. praying your heart be joy filled for her as she says YES to Jesus..as she dedicate her life to the One you already know as your Saviour..
      I will continue dearest, to lift you up in prayer.. hoping you know peace in this and that you hand it over to the Author and perfecter of our lives and faith..
      Will also be lifting up your darling girl as she makes this awesome commitment to the One who makes all things right according to His purpose…
      I love you ~B~.
      Praising God for this new season in your young one life..xxx

    • Churchmouse

      Oh B! Is this not the hardest part of mothering – to pour heart and soul and bended knees into our children, to sacrifice our very selves, to plant the seeds and water them so faithfully every single day, and tenderly support that fledgling sprout – only to have someone else be present at the blooming? Your words… So raw and honest. And I thank God for them. In a world of selfie (!) promotion and social phoniness, I so value and appreciate transparency and vulnerability. Just as Jesus won the battle in the Garden before His victory from the tomb, so you won the battle when first you claimed your sweet baby girl for Jesus! This victory is yours today because you stayed the course. You and no other! You just sit back with your knowing smile and you say Thank You, Lord! You get to look upon your daughter’s face every day from this point forward, seeing the fulfillment of your heart’s desire. That counselor got this one day. You have all that is yet to come. Well done, mama. Well done. Now go do the happy dance! Your daughter will be with you for eternity! I tip my hat and my coffee cup to you this morning!

    • Trayce

      B, so many great replies but just let me add that someday, when your precious daughter is older, she will come to you and thank you for all you have done for her. I know the the hurt and pain you feel now but God has you and your daughter. Thank you for sharing this personal struggle and know you have many sisters in Christ holding you up right now!

    • Kelly Chataine

      Sweet ~ B ~! What you are and have felt are real feelings. Thank God for those feelings because they come from a place of deep love and yearning! Praying that God will transition you gently and that you would go easy on yourself. Maybe your sweet one and done will allow a special celebration for the two of you! Also, I am asking God to allow you to feel his excitement even more than you do! The greatest song of all is the song of the redeemed! Loving you from afar! Blessings!

      • ~ B ~

        Kelly, thank you so much for your beautiful words over me. “The greatest song of all is the song of the redeemed” – – I need to remember this truth today and that my daughter will be in that fold! Thank you!

    • ~ B ~

      Courtney, Susan, T, Churchmouse and Trayce … your words, your prayers have already made a difference. Thank you for receiving me in such a kind way and allowing me the grace in the this. I don’t have the words to properly share how grateful I am for you as community. You women are treasures and I am made better, today, by you! Thank you very very much! ~ Betsy

      • Cynthia Johnston

        B, my heart ached with you as you have lived your daughter so well and we’re not with her as she decided to follow Christ. I am also rejoicing with you as she returns home a new creation! You are now able to disciple her. I had the privilege of sharing in Bible study with my youngest daughter and her friends. I encourage you to offer to do the same. May God bless your new relationship with your girl as sisters in Christ!

    • Rachel

      B, how truly wonderful of a story today! We all have a new sister! Praise God! I too pray she will allow your family to celebrate together if not only dessert or her favorite meal! I pray you would be able to share this moment with her – just like this passage -teaching her that we celebrate what God has done in our lives so others would know our joy! I remember in Jess Connolly’s book Dance Stand Run she talked about the moment her daughter gave her life to Christ – at another church’s VBS. I think children need to hear from other adults the SAME gospel and somehow the see/know “wow what my mom has said all along is true! She didn’t make this up!” So don’t be dismayed – your work is seen by the Father and He is not finished with either of you yet! You have many days ahead to watch and teach her to grow!! Congrats! Keep celebrating!

    • Kimberly

      Oh, Betsy. Tears welled in my eyes as I read your post and all the wonderful, wisdom filled responses. You are loved and we are praying for you and your sweet daughter. Your momma’s heart is tender and you have lovingly tended to your dear little shoot these 13 years, and will continue to do so long after today. You are a momma that other young women will learn how to parent by watching you. The scripture that comes to my mind for you this morning is 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.” Betsy, you have planted seeds in your daughter’s heart all these years. At this camp, a teacher has poured water on what you planted. But, it is God who made that seed grow!! And He will reward you for your faithfulness. I know that doesn’t completely take away the sting of your daughter attributing it to this woman, but it is truth. The enemy wants you to believe otherwise and stir up jealousy. I will be praying that the Lord will bind the enemy and his lies today! How I wish I lived in the same city as you and could hug you and pray with you. You are an amazing momma and an amazing woman of God. Much love in Christ to you!!

    • Lizzieb85

      Sometimes a parent’s wise words & truth telling become like the grownups in the Peanuts,”wah wah wah”, simply just because we are “mom”. Praise the Lord He has brought in a wise & Godly woman to support all you’ve already taught! I pray God does the same for my children, so they can see & know that this life giving truth isn’t just a “mom” thing. It is real & it is for everyone!

      Besides, she is your child, now you get the exciting & very worthy privilege to disciple her the rest of your life!!

      (As a quick aside, God’s Holy Spirit alone is the One who does the heart changing work of salvation. We are His instruments to bring the Good News, but whether a child comes to Christ or not is neither a reflection of our success nor of our failure. You have done your part, & it is a true blessing that your daughter has had the privilege to be surrounded by so many Godly women! The victory is all His! There will be an eternity of celebration with your daughter to come!!)

  • England Elsie

    Oh how wonderful is this and we should be doing it! The reverence and praise they beheld God in the Old Testament. Let us praise him like this in today’s times – see him for who is – our God – the Holy of Holies. Praying all us ladies can praise him today – even if it only seems like a little bit of mortar or only one brick has been put on the new wall he is rebuilding in your life – let’s praise him!!

    • Susan

      I love that, praise Him one brick at a time! Sometimes that is all the strength we have, one step, one brick, keep praising all along the way. Don’t wait until the end, praise as the rebuilding is taking place. Thank you for that reminder!

    • Kristen

      I live that you said we should have reverence and praise Him like the Old Testament. He is worthy of praise and we need to be in awe of Him and remember that He is Holy. I think that isn’t done as much in some churches, people, and hearts. Help me to fear You Lord bc that is the beginning of wisdom. Let me see You as Holy, Precious, Glorious, and worthy to be given all praise. Be magnified and highly exalted God in our lives!

  • Carol Eustace

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  • Sara Harper

    I pray that I too see God’s glory in everything. I pray that I recognize and praise Him for the good he has done in my life and continues to do in my life.

  • Churchmouse

    Today’s passage brings to mind Revelation 4:8. The winged creatures are bowing down 24/7, saying “Holy , Holy, Holy!! I heard a preacher once say that the reason they worshiped so continuously was because of what they were seeing. He pictured them looking down from heaven, observing the whole earth. They would cry, “Holy! ” every time they witnessed God at work in the lives of His creation. They were overwhelmed and overcome by all that He was doing. The only appropriate response was praise. Worship. Bowing. Man may not have always been aware but the heavenly creatures had the perfect vantage point to see all that God was doing. Lord, I pray today that You would give me fresh sight to recognize Your hand in my life. Give me a heart so aware and so grateful that I find myself in a continual state of praise and wonder. Let me not overlook a single thing. Let me see all the holy that You provide. And let me ever say thank you. Amen.

    • Tina

      I pray today that You would give me fresh sight to recognize Your hand in my life. Give me a heart so aware and so grateful that I find myself in a continual state of praise and wonder…. I love this Churchmouse…
      Your praise Lord ever be on my lips… Amen .
      Hugs and love dear sister.. xxx

    • PamC

      Amen!

    • Victoria

      Amen!

  • Who would have thought a wall could cause such joy, merriment and rejoicing! Bricks and mortar… and yet if truth be told.. Anything and everything that has Gods hand over and on it, should be worthy of merriment joy, praise and rejoicing!

    When my ‘walls’ came crushing down around me… when sorrow and I walked hand in hand.. when my life changed forever, never to be the same, the merriment, rejoicing, joy and praise seemed to have died with my beloved one… I could no more be happy for a new day than i could raise my hands in praise..
    But God..
    But God..

    There have been tears.. the heart shattered into many many pieces, yet God, one ‘brick’ at a time in his gentleness, grace, love, protection, Word and care, has been there in the rebuilding of my heart, my life, my ‘wall’.
    It was never going to be a quick fix job, but in His patience my Father God has given me a ‘wall’ that I can rejoice in. A heart that is full of joy, a life that is mine.. though different, yet worthy of praise to the One who saves.. the One who rebuilds, the One who can make things and me whole again in Him..
    The journey together with my Father God has been long.. but what a journey of ‘brick by brick’ restoration..
    What a story.
    What a victory…
    What a God…

    I absolutely hope and pray that my joy, merriment and praise each day, sure does point to the One, who by His grace and favour heard the cries of a broken, broken mother and ‘ rebuilt’ her heart to be able to sing of His great great love for her.
    Thankful for the opportunity to share with you what God has done in me, for me and with me…

    Praying He turn His face to shine on you today.. whatever your day looks like..my Sisters… with love and an absolute thankful heart.. xxx

    • Churchmouse

      Thank you Tina for letting your joy spread far and wide by sharing your testimony with all of us here. Your joy comes from a deep well. And in times of need, I draw strength from it, even all the way over here in the States. I look for your words, knowing I will be blessed and challenged by them. Thank you, friend. With love. Xxx

    • Anne Jones

      Thank you Tina

    • Susan

      You have touched me today by your sharing your heart. Thank you.

    • Chris Gruhlke

      Blessings, Tina!

    • Kathy Valentine

      Tina, Every time you share you celebrate our Lord for Who He is and what He has done in your life. Praying He continues to renew, restore, and repair what sorrow has broken. Love you, sister!

    • Carrie Doss

      What beautiful, honest words for Who our God is and what He does for us in our brokenness! Thank you so much for always sharing with an open heart. Much love and many blessings to you! ❤️

    • Mari

      Tina, your words have brought me great joy and hope. I’m going to go back and re-read it later again. Thank you for being so transparent it gives me hope.

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