I’m reading one passage/chapter from the Bible each morning. I went through the Psalms. I must admit, I took Psalm 119 by sections. Next I went to Philippians. It was only 4 chapters long, so what next? I finally landed in the book of Nehemiah. I specifically remember passing by Chronicles and Numbers. I really didn’t feel like reading long genealogies. Ha! God had something wonderful for me today in Nehemiah chapter 3.
Nehemiah isn’t a super long book, so I thought I can handle this one chapter that names everybody who helped rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that had been broken down and burned. I’m starting to drift into that when will this boring list be over phase when I discovered, it wasn’t that boring after all. I noticed something. Everyone was included. People who lived in Jerusalem and those that lived in Jericho. People who were just your average citizens and folks that were priests and even the Nethinim. Two verses especially stood out. One man is listed as taking a section – and his daughters! My favorite verse: the sixth son of a certain man took a section of the wall and rebuilt it.
Have you ever felt like the sixth son? Back in medieval times, the first son was the heir, the 2nd wend to the military and the 3rd went to the church. You might find something for a 4th or 5th son to do, but to be the 6th son? Yet this man, the 6th son, is specifically mentioned as doing his part in rebuilding the wall. He is included.
I think that’s one of the many things I love about God’s way of presenting things. His grace, His mantra of “I have room for everyone” is found in so many places and so many different ways in the Bible. The Nethinim, a group of people set to always serve in the temple in menial tasks; a man who had a handful of daughters and the sixth son. There really is a place for everyone in God’s kingdom.
It is hard for me to read Psalm 46. When I was a disc jockey at a Christian radio station in college, I often played a song that had been inspired by this verse. Later at another radio station, I often heard a song in a completely different style focusing on a different part of this psalm. So every time I start to read it, I start singing the songs in my mind when I get to those verses. Talk about whiplash!
But what intrigued me was a word I didn’t know – A song for Alamoth. Who is Alamoth? So I looked it up and it is in reference to virgins/a women’s chorus. This Psalm was originally prepared for an all women’s chorus!
We often forget that these words written long ago were actually songs. You’ll see several Psalms that say, “Set to The Lilies.” Evidently that was a popular tune back in the day. The message is clear – people have been praising God in music for centuries. No reason to stop now!
Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us don’t really care where God is at the present moment until something happens. Disaster strikes, families fall apart, a chain reaction of “bad luck” lands on your doorstep or a health crisis appears. Now, suddenly, it really matters where God is. In fact we even look up into the sky and ask in a variety of ways with a variety of promises of what we will do if He answers: “If You are real God, I need some help down here.”
The answer to where God is – well, it just might not be in the place you expected to see it. In the book of Psalms, number 22, you find what religious scholars call a Messianic Psalm. It is a Psalm, or song, about Jesus as the Messiah, written centuries before His birth. It is a prophecy in song. But this particular song starts out with the Messiah calling out like we do. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” It talks about how He knows they will pierce His hands and feet and many other cruel things about the crucifixion.
This is where God is? How depressing. Not really, because if you read the entire song (why not try to make a melody of it yourself), you will discover that it ends in triumph. Oh yeah, and right after that where are You when I need You cry of desperation, is the answer. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people.
Could this possibly be true? Yes. Show me. Read the Bible stories about Solomon dedicating the temple. The praises of God’s people brought His presence to such an extent, the temple was filled with the glory of God and there wasn’t room for the priests in there to do their jobs. After doing a 5K around Jericho for the cause of God’s people, they give a shout of praise to their God and the walls fall down. God told one of the kings of Israel the battle was already won. This king set forth in faith and put the singers in front of the army. The SINGERS in front of the army! They advanced with praises and indeed found the battle already won and they merely had to collect the spoils. Let’s not forget our New Testament friends of Paul and Silas who sang praises to God in a Philippian jail cell. Earthquakes, shackles breaking off and doors bursting open. Evidently when God inhabits the praises of His people, it is a big deal.
It doesn’t happen like that in my life. It doesn’t? Test God. Praise Him. Really spend time praising Him and be specific. I’m not talking about going down the list of things God does for you like those Father’s Day cards we buy once a year, but Praise Him for Who He is! Praise Him with all your heart and then see where God is.