WEEK 4, DAY 22: CELEBRATION
Celebration, Consecration, Contribution by Stephanie Matthews, CFR
Scripture Reference: Nehemiah 12
God’s people are party people. For as much as they know how to lament a terrible plight, they also know how to throw an exuberant party that violates noise ordinances the next town over. I’m exaggerating a little, but Nehemiah 12 does record that Jerusalem’s re-dedication celebration was so amped that “the sound of rejoicing could be heard from far away.” Admittedly, 2020 has brought a lot of things we can grieve about, but let’s not allow our faces to get frozen in a frown. Celebration should be a mark of the Christian life. Perhaps remembering that Jesus’ first miracle was at a party will help. As a local businessman is known for saying, “Don’t postpone joy!” So, pick something praise-worthy to celebrate today and go all out about it! Small or big, our God deserves the praise and you need the joy.
CELEBRATION INCLUDES CONSECRATION
God’s parties are not like the ones we hear about in high school where people make poor choices and tear up stuff. At God’s parties, the celebration includes consecration. Things actually get cleaned and dedicated to His service and His purposes. At the Jerusalem party, the Levites purify themselves, the walls, the gates, and the people. For us, that kind of consecration involves confession, repentance, and acceptance of God’s forgiveness. God’s word promises that if we do confess our sins, God forgives and cleanses us (1 John 1:9). That forgiveness produces a type of joy as well.
A final noteworthy component of the colossal Jerusalem party is that the storehouses were filled with contributions. “And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy,” (Nehemiah 12:43). God gives you joy so you give back to God so God gives you more joy…and the cycle goes on and on. God may expect a tithe but he loves a cheerful giver. With your generosity, do you want to merely meet His expectations or experience His love?
Being a part of God’s Kingdom is not all-work-and-no-play. It involves taking time to intentionally give thanks, praise Him, and experience joy. As you pray today, choose joy!
Father God, today we agree with one another that you are Holy, Perfect, and Supreme in all things. When the prophets of old entered into your presence they were immediately aware of their uncleanliness, and so are we Lord! We are a people of unclean lips and we need your purification so that we may stand in your presence to receive your Word for today.
We consecrate and dedicate ourselves to you anew. Our lives belong to you and we ask your forgiveness for the times when we waste our lives on things of no profit to the Kingdom. You don’t expect us to be 24-7 righteousness factories, but you have anointed us with purpose. Quicken our thoughts to reflect what’s important to You so that we may live effective lives.
In Nehemiah 12, Lord, you say, “And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy,” (Nehemiah 12:43). May that sacrifice be our full selves, and may we give ourselves joyfully! Father, you give us joy so that we can give it back to You so that you can give us even more joy…and the cycle goes on and on. Thank you for your joy, Lord!
We love you. In the name of Jesus, Amen!