Read Nehemiah 12:31-42. Why was music such an important part of this celebration?
Part of the worship service in Nehemiah’s time was creating two thanksgiving choirs that walked around Jerusalem singing, accompanied by instruments. They started in the same place and then split off, each going in a different direction around the walls of the city. One group was led by Ezra, who was at the front, and the other group had Nehemiah at the back. The two choirs met up once again at the Valley Gate and from there proceeded into the temple. Priests who blew the trumpets complemented each procession. Once the choirs entered the temple, they stood facing each other. It was an excellently organized procession and worship service.
To answer why music is such an important part of the celebration and worship service, we have to look at its meaning in the context of the temple. Music in the temple was not a concert that people came to enjoy, like going to listen to Beethoven’s 4th symphony being performed at a concert hall. Rather, as the musicians sang and played the instruments, the people bowed in prayer. It was part of their worship.
The central act of the temple and worship concerned sacrifices, itself a rather unpleasant action. After all, what were they doing but slicing the throats of innocent animals? The playing of such beautiful music, in many ways, besides just lifting the people’s thoughts heavenward, helped make the whole worship experience more pleasant.
Look up instances in the Bible where music was an important aspect of worship. Reflect especially on Exodus 15:1; 2 Chronicles 20:21-22; and Revelation 15:2-4.
Both on earth and in heaven, music is part of the worship experience. Notice that in the above verses, the singing is all about what the Lord has done for His people, including giving them victory “over the beast” (after all, how else would they have gotten that victory?). It’s praise to God for His acts of salvation.
|Name some of the things that God has done for you that are good reasons to sing praises to Him?|