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With the religious reforms behind him, Nehemiah can get on with his plans for dedicating the wall. When the day set for dedication finally arrives, there is a great choral procession by two choirs marching in opposite directions on top of the wall. Ezra led one of the choirs. Nehemiah (in an act of humility) brought up the rear of the other.
1. What’s your idea of a “musical extravaganza”?
- 76-trombone parade?
- 100-piece orchestra?
- half-time at the Super Bowl?
- boom-box concert?
- in a huge field with sound stages and tons of audio-video equipment?
2. What do you associate with “Thanksgiving” celebrations?
- Count your blessings?
3. How did the people celebrate the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem? What specific actions did the priests, Levites and singers take?
4. What was the purpose of the processions? Which groups were included? Who led each group? In which direction did they go? If you were there, what would you see? Hear? Feel? If your local media were covering this event for the evening news, what picture stories and interviews would they be sure to get?
5. What happens off-camera in the “house of God” (verses 40 – 43)? What mood typifies the dedication ceremony? What modern music pieces would you have assigned to capture that mood?
6. What steps of appreciation do the people take to make sure that those who serve at the temple (priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers) are cared for (verses 44 – 47)?
7. Review Nehemiah’s lonely walk around Jerusalem (chapter 2). How does that compare with the grand procession here? What “before and after” story could you write from Nehemiah’s diary? Have you seen or experienced anything like that in your life?
8. How would you go about thanking God for shoring up the spiritual resources of your life?
9. How are you (like Ezra and Nehemiah) finding, developing and using your gifts to build God’s kingdom? Where would your gifts have placed you in their winning team?
10. What steps as an individual and as a community of faith are you taking to care for those who are serving the Lord as “priests, Levites, singers or gatekeepers”?