Nehemiah wanted the dedication to go smoothly. It required a little bit of planning, but his intentionality was just the way he ensured that things would get done.
All the leaders of the Levites were assembled, and all of the head musicians came together. Nehemiah then started dividing all of the musicians and priests into different troops. They were going to dedicate every square inch of the city, and they would tackle this in differing parts.
This was not new to Nehemiah. As a matter of fact, Nehemiah was most likely borrowing the idea from the first time Jerusalem was dedicated to God under King David, nearly 1,000 years earlier. In that first dedication, David had assigned several groups of priests and singers to walk differing routes through the city so that they might proclaim how great God is, and how willing they were to use Jerusalem to always give Him praise.
Now Nehemiah drew up the order of service for the dedication. His having structure did not inhibit the worship of God, rather it ensured the worship of God. Often rigidity is accused of being the enemy of freedom. Especially when it comes to worship, people are very quick to cast stones at the lack of “wiggle room for the Holy Ghost” in a modern day church service. Some people see the routine of a church service as an impediment to the free working of the Holy Spirit. If they can’t find a problem with starting at a specific time, they will point out that perhaps God didn’t want the service to finish at a specific time. Two songs per service is too few for some, and too many for others. Why do we pray so many times? What is the point of announcing the things that are already in the bulletin? People can often get aggravated with the rigidity of the average church service.
But Nehemiah knew that the people of Jerusalem could be better equipped to worship God. He wanted to ensure that nothing was left undone in the magnifying of God. With deliberate steps of preparation, Nehemiah postured the inhabitants of the city to be able to exalt and praise God well.
At times, we need to be very specific about our personal worship of God. We need to set out specific times and places where we can gaze at His grandeur in the Bible. Perhaps you do not have any set time or place for consistent Bible intake. I strongly encourage for His glory and for your joy that you start today. I would even say, start right now.
Food For Thought: Reread Nehemiah 12:31-43. Read 1 Chronicles 23:5-6. How many groups did Nehemiah make? How many groups did David make? Why do you think the number was different?