come before him with thanksgiving

from the reading plan


Nehemiah 12:27-47, Psalms 16:7

BY Diana Stone

Text: Nehemiah 12:27-47, Psalms 16:7

After months of toil and years of living in and around a broken city, Jerusalem is done. Complete in record time. People are in, the temple is ready.

What happens next? A giant celebration of the Lord’s faithfulness to provide and protect them during this time. But not just a party. A dedication.

You see, Jerusalem wasn’t simply a city. It was the holiest city on earth. It was God’s chosen city for His chosen people. It deserved to be treated as such. We read in the verses about rituals followed. Special people invited. Traditions kept. The Israelites, though known for their grumbling in most of their stories before, knew that this dedication was of the utmost importance to get right. Not to show off. Not to follow rules set by man.

To show their God they truly loved and appreciated what He had done for them.

I wonder in our lives how often we stop to give the Lord our very best in thankfulness. When we avoid a car accident, when our child gets well, when that house we wanted becomes ours. There isn’t anything wrong with a quick, “Thank you, Jesus” in a stressful situation. Yet, do we follow up? Do we take time to reflect on the blessing given to us, to come before God with the very best?

“I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.” (Psalms 16:7)

In this age where things move at the speed of light, it’s so easy to pass over any kind of preparation as we come before God. But when we thank Him, it’s important to slow this down. Take time to fully comprehend just what we’ve been blessed with and didn’t deserve. To see the miracles in our lives that we miss when we rush past.


Lift up your hands to God and let Him know how you feel, and “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

Post Comments (50)

50 thoughts on "come before him with thanksgiving"

  1. mazmagi54 (Peggy) says:

    I read this after I commented above. Hope it adds to your understanding as it did mine and confirmed what I wrote from my heart above. Here are 3 more portions from another YouVersion reading plan on Nehemiah for today's part:

    DEDICATING THE CITY TO GOD

    "When we dedicate something to God, we give it all to Him. We hold nothing back. It is given in full and joyful surrender. It is all for God’s pleasure, all for His use, all for His glory. In the case of the city wall, the Levites not only purified the gates and the wall itself, but they also purified themselves and the people. Similarly, when we dedicate our lives to God, we need to step away from anything and everything that would prevent us from being holy.

    God’s desire is for us to be like him…holy! (1 Peter 1.14-16). If we want to restore our city, we must first ask God to help us walk in holiness. Then, we will become “living stones being used to build a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2.5).

    What does it say about the nature of the celebration when we’re told in v.27, “Levites from everywhere in Judah were invited to join in the celebration with songs of praise.…”?

    How would you plan a dedication of your city to God? What elements would be included? What would such a celebration look like?

    Pray: God, we want to uplift Your name among the people. Help us to dedicate ourselves(our SRT commUnity) and our city for Your glory. Give us the encouragement we need, and remind us that You are always with us."

    A MARCH OF THANKSGIVING—A CONCERT OF PRAISE

    "We usher in God’s presence when we worship God in abandon, forgetting about ourselves and lifting our eyes, hands and voices to our Creator. In a large, carefully orchestrated thanksgiving march, Nehemiah, the priests and the people pay homage to God with songs, music and shouts of praise. The Scriptures say, “Shout praises to the LORD, everyone on this earth. Be joyful and sing as you come in to worship the LORD!” (Psalm 100.1, 2) The people of Jerusalem offered God a concert of praise!

    Were these the wall builders, the brick layers, the plasterers, the sanders, the tilers…? Yes, they were. Whoever we are, God can use us. Is there anything we can offer God? Let’s give Him praise!

    Why do you think it was fitting that the people went to the top of the city wall and stood in a circle? Why was it important for them to praise God in community rather than each person offering praise in their individual homes?

    Work with local churches and para-churches to pray about and plan a campaign that would revitalize neighboring communities.

    Pray: Lord, You are the one who unites us in ways we cannot comprehend. Make us a community of believers whose aim is to show others the way to You, so together, we can give You praise.

    Found out that their is one more part for today! It's so good I'm adding it below! It's "THE JOY OF RESTORATION!" WOO HOO!
    I so love that !!! [See next comment]

    1. mazmagi54 says:

      THE JOY OF RESTORATION

      "God’s restoration of the ruined walls of the city and God’s restoration of the hearts of His people brought an indescribable joy. The people showed a renewed interest in the Word of God and His commands, and the desire to follow God’s Word. Their celebratory worship was truly a fellowship between God and man. In this patriarchal society, this overflow of joy was not limited to the men, but the women and children were allowed to join in. It was indeed a family affair. It began with the prayer of one man, Nehemiah, and ended with the prayers of hundreds of families.

      When we have been restored to right standing with God and seek fellowship with Him, everything changes and joy enters our lives. Such expression of wholeness can permeate entire communities.

      Attempting great things for God often starts with a small step of faith and the knowledge that God is with you always. The text says God made the people happy. Can you recall instances in which God made people around you happy? What was their response to God?

      Think of the people in your community who desperately need restoration. How can you contribute to the restoration of their lives?

      Pray: Lord, I rejoice in my salvation. Give me the desire to see others experience the joy You have given me.

      1. mazmagi54 says:

        Yes, Lord bring restoration to our nation(s)! Let it start in our own community, better yet, in our own families, even better… Let it start with me!!! Thank You for the work You are doing right here in this SRT commUnity, for our renewed interest in coming together right here to READ the TRUTH of Your Word, share with one another, grow in You and our understanding, just thank You for renewing our interest, our thirst for You and more of You and Your Word, living and working in us, and our desire to follow Your Word! Thank You that You have made us glad! You are my very present help in time of need, trouble or whatever this old world and the enemy may throw at us. You are all we need!

        I just can't help but share more and more when I get this filled up! Thanks to all of you! Forgive me for my lengthy comments, that's just how I flow when I'm all pumped up … and hopefully flowing over to you.

        My response comes through 3 songs that came to me as I prayed (above) … I had one in mind when I began but found this so I'm sharing it first than the one I thought of and my last one…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZiEXEFUsXg
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_DxNpW1kHQ
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFtr_l-D_6I

    2. jesusgirl71 says:

      Oh this was so awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  2. mazmagi54 says:

    Coming before Our Lord with THANKS GIVING and PRAISE this day! A love song to Him and for Him for ALL He is and has done in me, for me and hopefully through me! Lifting up my hands to God, letting Him know how I feel and how very thankful I am for all the impossibles, He's made possible in my life, loving with with all my heart, mind and soul!

    Praying for each of you as I read through your comments and joining y'all in the prayer for our very special need at the beginning here! May the Healer, Comforter, Provider, Peace, and Strength of the Lord be with you. Guide you and fill you overflowingly!

    Glad you're back Ellen, you were missed!

    And to think Nehemiah (and ALL these so and so's from the 12 tribes of Judah) gathered and DEDICATED the reconstruction to the Lord; rebuilt and restored; as they had a joy filled celebration (this is what stood out to me) without internet, FB, Twitter, etc. the word spread , they came from various parts and returned to the LORD for this day! They came to the Holy of Holies with repentant hearts, bowed before Him, danced before Him, shouted aloud like Carolynmimi for the JOY inside, burst forth with all the instruments … "with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres." I love this part of the gathering to really worship the LORD!
    Choirs divided and moving in opposite direction, covering every section, praying around the entire circle of the city, each gate and God's people! Than the choirs (v.40) joined or came together and "took their places in the house of God"… Hallelujah! and "half the officials." How great that would be if our govt. officials gathered like this frequently (like most did on the day of prayer, it was beautiful, brought tears to my eyes as I watched them pray and sing) so we are reminded that we need to humble ourselves before the Lord, the final authority and submit to Him as " all Israel contributed the daily portions for the musicians and the gatekeepers." They noticed the importance of each individual and each portion together functioning as One Body purified (which means confessing and repentance)… real change comes from humbled hearts! Thank You Lord for this beautiful example of how it takes each.one.of.us to do our part and contribute to the WHOLE! Thank You for rebuilding us when we were broken and in need of Your Rescue, as Our Savior, Redeemer and now Lord over every portion of our lives in Jesus' Name, may we live and be a blessing… [See my added REPLY by just clicking on the word REPLY]

    Many blessings SRT commUnity and team – great reflections and team effort- peace and love,
    Peggy

    1. mazmagi54 says:

      I read this after I commented above. Hope it adds to your understanding as it did mine and confirmed what I wrote from my heart above. Here are two more portions from another YouVersion reading plan on Nehemiah for today's part:

      DEDICATING THE CITY TO GOD

      "When we dedicate something to God, we give it all to Him. We hold nothing back. It is given in full and joyful surrender. It is all for God’s pleasure, all for his use, all for his glory. In the case of the city wall, the Levites not only purified the gates and the wall itself, but they also purified themselves and the people. Similarly, when we dedicate our lives to God, we need to step away from anything and everything that would prevent us from being holy.

      God’s desire is for us to be like him…holy! (1 Peter 1.14-16). If we want to restore our city, we must first ask God to help us walk in holiness. Then, we will become “living stones being used to build a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2.5).

      What does it say about the nature of the celebration when we’re told in v.27, “Levites from everywhere in Judah were invited to join in the celebration with songs of praise.…”?

      How would you plan a dedication of your city to God? What elements would be included? What would such a celebration look like?

      Pray: God, we want to uplift Your name among the people. Help us to dedicate ourselves(our SRT commUnity) and our city for Your glory. Give us the encouragement we need, and remind us that You are always with us."

      A MARCH OF THANKSGIVING—A CONCERT OF PRAISE

      "We usher in God’s presence when we worship God in abandon, forgetting about ourselves and lifting our eyes, hands and voices to our Creator. In a large, carefully orchestrated thanksgiving march, Nehemiah, the priests and the people pay homage to God with songs, music and shouts of praise. The Scriptures say, “Shout praises to the LORD, everyone on this earth. Be joyful and sing as you come in to worship the LORD!” (Psalm 100.1, 2) The people of Jerusalem offered God a concert of praise!

      Were these the wall builders, the brick layers, the plasterers, the sanders, the tilers…? Yes, they were. Whoever we are, God can use us. Is there anything we can offer God? Let’s give Him praise!

      Why do you think it was fitting that the people went to the top of the city wall and stood in a circle? Why was it important for them to praise God in community rather than each person offering praise in their individual homes?

      Work with local churches and para-churches to pray about and plan a campaign that would revitalize neighboring communities.

      Pray: Lord, You are the one who unites us in ways we cannot comprehend. Make us a community of believers whose aim is to show others the way to You, so together, we can give You praise.

    2. Carolynmimi says:

      Love it all, thanks for doing this it adds to the understanding.

      1. mazmagi54 says:

        Carolynmimi, trying to figure out how to reply with Intense Debate. I did not know about this or that because I registered to comment on SRT that it somehow goes there. Did not see this on the SRT comments so I began to check this out. Hope this works! Thanks for your precious encouraging words! You have just a beautiful gift in poetry writing. I've enjoyed finding your blog and all that you share. Your insights are such a blessing! Thank you Carolynmimi. (I still need to figure this out)

  3. scripturesquegraphics says:

    As I visualize this huge celebratory worship scene in Nehemiah, it makes me wonder how many people were watching. People who weren't "the chosen". This was obviously a celebration of praise to the Lord, but don't you think as they marched along the wall with loud praise and thanksgiving that outsiders were greatly impacted as well? They didn't close up this celebration in the temple, this was all over the city where everyone could watch and participate and be impacted. How often do we share our overflowing joy with "outsiders"? We tend to hang close to our Christian bubbles instead of letting our joy overflow all over this fallen world where it is so needed. Looking at our comments we are obviously a blessed bunch. I want to go share that joy and push back some of the falleness .

    Much Grace Ladies

  4. Charmaine says:

    When I think of all the things God has brought me through my heart swells with such gratitude. I should be dead but God! I should be in a mental hospital But God!

    I’m not perfect but I know the one who is and I call him Abba, Father. Lord I praise you, honor you, love and adore you. You alone are worthy to be praised! Your my provider, healer, shield and banner. Your my rock, my confidant, I know what I tell you goes no farther. Oh Lord how I praise your name!

    Some days I’m in so much pain but I praise your name, for you are worthy. Some days I’m in tears but I still praise you, for your worthy. You ARE the best thing that has ever happened to me!! And as long as I have breath in my lungs I will never stop praising you.

    Praying for your mother in law that God will cover her while she is in surgery. That God will guide the hands of ALL those involved and that he will give you all strength to deal with this. Be strong and trust that God has it all under control. And trust that his will be done.

    God bless you all sisters and keep praising The Lord for he IS worthy!!!

    Love you!!!!

  5. Ellen MR says:

    That’s right Candacejo!!
    We have MANY blessings when we stop to realize them- Amen!
    I’ve been missing you ladies! Unfortunately I’ve been extremely I’ll, but now trying to get back in the swing of things. No matter how sick, I still croaked out a “Thank you Jesus, for this day..” Boy, it was NOT fun, but I’m here and soo thankful for that!!
    Be blessed Sisters- you are all loved! :)
    Praying for Tnlsmom and family!

    1. Candacejo says:

      Awww, I knew it! Last night when I finally got to bed at one a.m. I said to the Lord, "where is Ellen? And if she is not well please touch her!" And I was going to email you today! So sorry I was preoccupied over the holiday weekend with company and did not check on you friend :( I do hope you are feeling better today…

    2. Carolynmimi says:

      So glad you are back and posting. Glad you are feeling better.

    3. jesusgirl71 says:

      So glad you are back, Ellen MR! So sorry you have been ill!

    4. mazmagi54 (Peggy) says:

      I came back here (in case you did not see my comment to you in my HUGE comment) to tell you that I'm glad you're back, hope you are feeling better, and I missed you (concerned like a mom)… anyways, I also was wondering if you do INTENSE DEBATE (I had to sign up to it to comment but just figured out yesterday that it keeps a dialog going of our comments and kinda like FB, which I don't do…) just because if you do, I'm just learning about it but I want to add you to mine… So let me know or sign up (not sure how I did this either cuz I don't even do Word Press but I have that little symbol by my name, so I can comment of Word Press blogs) …who knows? Maybe Nannette (Candacejo68p) or (Carolynmimi70p) cuz they have it too! Hope to see you in the final day and at the celebration! Get well and stay well, OK?

  6. JuneBug says:

    "He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord . He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord , for our hope is in you alone."
    Psalm 33:18-22 (NLT)

    I have so much to celebrate.

    I am alive today.
    I am alive because a 19 year old somehow had the strength to give her child (me) up for adoption, who's father pleaded for her to abort instead. Rescued.
    I am alive today because the Lord provided a safe place to fall when I spiraled into depression in my early 20's. Rescued.
    I am alive today because God protected me in a serious car accident in my mid-20's. Rescued.
    I am alive today because God protected me from a life-threatening situation in my late-20's. Rescued.
    I am alive today because doctors were led to abnormal cells in my body in my early 30's before it was too late. Rescued.
    I am alive today because the Lord provided crisis financial support in my mid-30's so we could eat. Rescued.
    I am alive today, in my late 30's and I finally trust that the Lord has a rescue plan for all of us.

    Just like the scriptures are building up to a time in prophetic history, I believe our lives are building up for a purpose. An appointed time. One that gives glory and honor to our Creator God that surely rescues us. And with all creation, you and I will sing,

    “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
    Revelation 5:13 (NLT)

    1. Carolynmimi says:

      What a fantastic testimony to the Grace and Provision of God!

      And to think as His disciples we have a part in rescuing others, Like the old hymn says:

      Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
      Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
      Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
      Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

      Refrain:
      Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
      Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

      Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
      Waiting the penitent child to receive;
      Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
      He will forgive if they only believe.

      Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
      Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
      Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
      Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.

      Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
      Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
      Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
      Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

      1. mazmagi54 says:

        Great old hymn with wonderful words of rescue!!! Just had to go hear it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8oGNZ0TxpE

    2. Candacejo says:

      Wow! That's so beautiful, you took time to be thankful! What a testimony!

    3. Brandi says:

      Awesome!

    4. mazmagi54 says:

      What a wonderful testimony to celebrate with you and give thanks, JuneBug! Giving thanks for you to Our Rescuer!!! So glad He rescued you for such a time as this and your purpose yet to be fulfilled! Glory! Hallelujah!

    5. jesusgirl71 says:

      Oh, Junebug! How beautiful! Thank you! So true and so needed!

    6. Carolynmimi says:

      JuneBug,
      Don't know how else to reach you, but this touched me so much that last night I wrote a short bit of verse for you. I would like to use a portion of what you wrote today on my blog ckisler.wordpress.com with that verse. I will not do this without your permission. The verse follows. You blessed me and do so everyday. I wanted to return a bit to you and to the One who rescues.

      God rescued me before I was born
      And he rescued me in the midst of life's storms
      He gathered me up, set my feet on the ground
      I was Lost on the edge,  but now I'm unbound

      The Lord rescued me before I was born
      And he rescued from life's many storms
      He gathered me up, set my feet on the ground
      He held my hand, He let me cry, I'm found

      When we really look back at the wreckage behind
      Seeking for something we never could find
      Swept up in the whirlwinds, battered day after day
      Chasing the glitter, broken dreams slip away
      And that's where we'd stay

      BUT

      He rescued us all before we are born
      He carries us through fire, wind and storms
      Until by His grace we stand on his Holy Ground
      He'll never turn loose, his grip secure, we're found.

      He'll hold us close, He'll hold our hand, He is our rock
      And on Christ I stand

      God rescued me before I was born
      And he rescued me in the midst of life's storms
      He gathered me up, set my feet on the ground
      I was Lost on the edge,  but now I'm unbound

      " On Christ the solid rock I stand, 
      All other ground is sinking sand"

      He rescued me!

      1. JuneBug says:

        What beautiful, inspired prose you write! Thank you for sharing from your heart each day.
        Absolutely, you have my permission to share Carolynmimi. My philosophy about it is that if someone can be blessed by it, share away. What I write belongs to God anyway. :) If you need to contact me about anything, my email address is [email protected]. Blessings dear sister! Still praying for your husband too.

  7. Candacejo says:

    Knowing that we are the most blessed people on the planet we should offer up uninhibited praise and thanksgiving! Hold nothing back!

    We are too busy for sure. And we take our many blessings for granted. We are just so used to having things and possessions and we cannot imagine it all not being there.

    But I think the more we read the news and see the disasters on TV lately it has surely made us stop and think about what is important in life…or at least it should…and we have much to be grateful for!

    If we have our health and family intact, we are blessed!

    If our health is failing us but we know Jesus, we are still sooooo blessed!

    If everything is crumbling around us and yet we still know to call on the Almighty and He will show up, my, my, my, we are of all people most bless-ed!

    A most THANK-FULL lesson today!

    1. Carolynmimi says:

      Blessed BEYOND anything deserved. YES!

  8. jesusgirl71 says:

    I am definitely guilty of this! I just give quick thank-yous. I need to dwell on the blessings He brings!

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