After Israel had successfully rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem under Nehemiah’s leadership, Jews who had been exiled in Babylon began to return to the city. As they did, they celebrated by dedicating the new wall to God. Nehemiah tells us, “The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away” (Nehemiah 12:43).
As I read the account, I pictured a night in the late 1980’s when my brother and I attended a Promise Keeper’s conference in Boulder, Colorado. For reasons I no longer remember, we had to leave slightly before the event ended. As we walked to our car we could see the glow of the stadium lights flooding the nighttime sky. But it was the sound of 55,000+ men singing praise to the God in heaven that I remember most.
The sound carried for blocks surrounding Folsom Field. I read an account a few days later of an elderly woman who was a patient in a nearby hospital. She had told the nursing staff that she wouldn’t die until she had heard the angels singing. That night, a window in her room was cracked open and the sound of joyful worship reached her ears. She reportedly told the staff that she had heard the angels, closed her eyes, and died peacefully.
Whether we’re rejoicing with thousands of others in a crowded stadium, or worshipping alone in the privacy of our homes, a life of genuine joy is a rare thing that captures the attention of others. Can others hear any joy in your life? If not, what might need to change? –Dave
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