A Moment of Joy in Jerusalem

2014 The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference

In this 76-minute session from the TGC Women’s Conference, Carrie Sandom, Jenny Salt, and Kathleen Nielson describe the events and emotions in Nehemiah 11–12 to encourage believers in joyful worship.

Carrie Sandom is an author and the Associate Minister for Women at St. John’s Church in Tunbridge Wells, UK. Jenny Salt serves as the Dean of Students at Sydney Missionary and Bible College in Sydney, Australia. Kathleen Nielson is an author and the Director of Women's Initiatives for The Gospel Coalition. 

Nehemiah 11–12 records three events in Jerusalem following the renewal of the covenant: 
  1. Repopulation of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:1–14)
  2. Rededication of the wall (Nehemiah 12:27–43)
  3. Reordering of lives (Nehemiah 12:44–47)

The people of God joyfully anticipated a restored relationship with God through worship and sacrifice. How would you describe your anticipation for worship and communion with God? What inspires those feelings?
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Hebrews 10:19-22 (ESV)

The Full Assurance of Faith

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In what ways do you draw near to God? Do you come to Him with full assurance that your sins are washed clean, or do you struggle with shame and regret? How did this session help you more fully understand and appreciate your direct access to God today through Christ?
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In Nehemiah 12, the people of God rededicated the temple wall and rejoiced. Jenny shared three things we learn about joy from this passage:

  1. Joy is God-centered. 
  2. Joy comes in remembering God’s faithfulness.
  3. Joy is fostered when there is a focus on thankfulness. 

Carrie said, “For the people of God here, seeing this procession on the wall, that was so recently broken, but now built, would have filled their hearts with joy. They were looking at God’s faithfulness.”  

When has your heart been filled with joy? When have you looked upon the faithfulness of God?
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In what practical ways do you remind yourself of His faithfulness and focus on thanksgiving?
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After the celebration of the wall, Kathleen explained how the people of God reordered their lives:

  1. According to the Word
  2. Depending on His promises
  3. With joy

How does Scripture inform the way you order our life and spend your time? Do you regularly attend worship services, read the Word, and enjoy Christian community? What could be reordered? How do you depend on God's promises in your everyday life?
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Jenny said, “You don’t have to tell a bride on her wedding day, you don’t have to tell a new parent as they look at their newborn baby, you don’t have to tell child with a big bowl of ice cream, and you didn’t have to tell the people of Jerusalem to rejoice with great joy because God had made them rejoice. The were God’s people, they were amongst God’s people. It was all about what God had done. How much more for us?” 

To learn more about The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference and how you can attend the next event, click here