Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Singing in the Fire

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Jesus Icon Project
You've heard of singing in the rain or in the shower. I want to show you singing in the fire. Anyone can sing when things are going good, it takes a person who really believes and trusts the Lord to be able to sing in the middle of a trials that burn on like a never ending fire. 

I was thinking that I would look at some verses about giving thanks. So I was looking at this verse from Nehemiah and I was intrigued because it says that David prescribed kind of praise and thanksgiving where one would sing out and another would respond. Then I got off on a rabbit trail in my fascination with names and their meanings. I think sometimes there are things that God hides for us to find if we want to dig a little. Hidden messages. So follow me as I show you what I discovered. 

Nehemiah 12:24

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
24 And the leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua son of Kadmiel, and their associates, who stood opposite them to give praise and thanksgiving, one section responding to the other, as prescribed by David the man of God.

I was looking at the meanings of the names of these guys who's job it was to praise and thank God. It says they responded to one another as prescribed by David. So one might say "He is Mighty" and another would call out "We Thank the Lord for his mighty hand to save." 

So here's what their names mean. 
Hashabiah, = [Hăsha bī'ah]—whom God regards.
Sherebiah, =[Shĕre bī'ah]—jehovah hath made to tremble or singing with the Lord, flame of the Lord. Strongs Concordance say from sharab and Yah "Yah has sent burning heat," an Isr. name I suspect that might make one tremble. This guy also is said to have 18 musical sons who returned from exile. 
Jeshua = [Jĕsh'uă, Jĕsh'u ah]—jehovah is salvation or help.

Can you imagine this worship service being led by these three guys. Whom God regards, To tremble in the heat of Gods presence, who know that He is their Salvation.

How often have you trembled in the presence of God? I think we could stand to regain some of the awesome reverence of God. We have perhaps gotten a little bit chummy with the Lord and forgotten he's like a million voltz of electricity. David and the guys got a bit sloppy and did not bother to regard how God said the arc of the covenant should be moved. It was supposed to be carried by priests on poles. They put it on a cart and the ox stumbles and one of the guys reaches out to steady the arc to keep it from falling and gets zapped and burned to a crispy crunch. I think after that incident David went back and checked a bit more carefully about how to move the ark. When I first read that story I used to think what the heck - they guy was trying to help the Lord. He was doing a good thing to not let the arc fall to the ground. You can read the story in 2 Samuel 6. I am all for a personal relationship and the whole what a friend we have in Jesus. I think however if we loose sight of how awesome and powerful our God is  we start to develop a mamby pamby milk toast kind of message about who our God really. 

My pastor shared as he was teaching from Phillipians 1 about how our love increases as our knowledge increases. The more we seek to know the Lord the more we see how amazing it is that he loves us and our love grows. I thought that was pretty cool and so these guys names got me thinking. I looked up some other verses about trembling before the Lord. 

Psalm 96:9
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.  

Isaiah 66:2
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

Isaiah 66:5
Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: “Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame.

Jeremiah 5:22
Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.

Joel 2:1
An Army of Locusts ] Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the landtremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand—

So in looking for what God might be saying to us through the particular meaning of the names of the guys who's job it was to thank and praise God. "He whom God regards, trembles at the fire of His presence in whom salvation is found."

Or perhaps He whom God regards sings when the heat is on knowing his salvation in in the Lord. These are the ones who stand giving praise and thanks to God. These are the ones God pays attention to, the ones who keep singing in the midst of the fire. 

Which reminds me of Daniel 3: 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

They do get thrown in the furnace and those watching see not just the 3 men but 4 and they come back out of the fire not even smelling of smoke. Here's a bit more of the story 

25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

So I've been guilty of worrying about making ends meet lately. I took Monday and decided not to worry, to take time to rest and rejuvenate believing that God will help me with each and every bill and need as it comes up. That just because in the natural it would seem like a good time to worry with holiday work lay offs for my husband just around the corner. I realize that my worrying really won't solve anything. Then I remind myself that our budget has rarely worked out on paper but somehow always works out as we trust the Lord. 

So this hidden message that the Lord opened my eyes to see, was very much for me. The Lord regards those who sing in the midst of the fire and know that He is their salvation. You can take the verse today on a more surface level and it is still rich in that David, a man after God's heart prescribed that they worship the Lord in a responsive way. 

Heres a bit that I found in the Dictionary of Bible Themes. So you can do some more digging on your own. 

Methods of praise

In singing Eph 5:19 See also Ne 12:46Ps 149:1Isa 42:10Lk 1:46-47,68Ac 16:25Col 3:16
With musical instruments Ps 150:3-5 See also 1Ch 25:32Ch 7:6Ps 33:2Ps 92:1-3Isa 38:20
In dancing Ps 149:3 See also Ex 15:19-202Sa 6:14Ps 150:4

With thanksgiving Ps 42:4Ps 100:4 See also 2Ch 5:13

Lord I pray you would lead each one as they not only read your word but begin to dig in deeper. I pray that you would shine your light and illuminate for them the very things that they need to see. Grant wisdom and knowledge and greater insight in to knowing you more. Cause our love for you to grow and increase and as it does let it over flow to those around us. 

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