II Chronicles 5:11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course:

12 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)

13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;

14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.

Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Psalm 149:2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.

6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand.

9b This honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.

Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 65:18 But be ye glad rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

Nehemiah 12:42b And the singers sang loud, with Jezrahiah their overseer.

43 Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another is psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

MEMORY VERSE: Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. —Isaiah 56:7

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Singing and joyful worship was a central part of Old Testament Israel; they were known by it. When they were carried away to Babylonian captivity, God prophesied that when He brought them back to their land, they would return with singing, which literally took place in Nehemiah’s day and is spiritually fulfilled in the saints of the New Testament church of God, who are also known by their joyful songs of praise.


It’s exciting to read of the wonderful cloud of glory that covered the Old Testament temple as the worshippers rejoiced and sang! Joy and singing has always been a part of the worship of Jehovah. Even the morning stars and the heavenly sons of God rejoiced and sang at the time of the creation of the earth (Job 38:7). There is “music” in the spheres; in the sunrise and the sunset (Psalm 65:8); the rivers and trees “clap their hands” and the mountains, deserts and the wilderness rejoice and sing (Psalm 98:8, Isaiah 35:1-2 and 55:12) because of the presence of the Lord! (Truly, there is literal and spiritual meaning to this!) I’ve even read of studies done with dolphins and whales deep in ocean waters who “sing,” and we know the song of the birds morning by morning is the joyful praise to their creator! The angel choir rejoiced at Jesus’ birth, and the scenes in Revelation are alive with songs from a choir which cannot be numbered.

Our first verses are from the scene of the assembly at the dedication of the temple Solomon built. Everything had been put into place and the Levites began their praises to God. The one hundred and twenty priests are a type of the one hundred and twenty disciples in the upper room on the day of Pentecost; as they sang and prayed, the glory of the Lord came down.

We have referenced two different Psalms, but the entire book of Psalms, the Song of Solomon, and the Lamentations (songs of grief) of Jeremiah are all Old Testament “song books.” There are songs in the writings of Moses, Isaiah, and several other prophets. The first of the Psalms we quote is the well-known Hundredth psalm, which is a call to worship. Psalm 149 is most likely a song from the time of the rebuilding of the temple after the return from captivity; the two-edged sword literally meaning the way the Jews rebuilt the temple: a weapon in one hand and a tool in the other. The spiritual fulfillment is certainly in the holy saints of God, who do spiritual battle with God’s Word and praise and thanksgiving!

Isaiah 35 and 65 prophesied of the coming home to Zion with songs, joy and gladness. Nehemiah 12 gives the literal fulfillment, as the joy of the newly returned patriots rang out so loud and triumphantly their singing could be heard from a distance!

Our New Testament scriptures show how important singing was in the early church. As the saints endured Roman persecution, the subterranean tunnels known as the Catacombs were inscribed with songs of the saints who took refuge there.

Our memory verse is a prophecy from Isaiah about the true believers who would honor the spiritual sabbath—their lives were kept holy unto the Lord, and their offerings, which are identified in Hebrews as praise and thanksgiving, were acceptable unto God, who had made them joyful in His house of prayer, the church of God.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Describe the wonderful temple scene from II Chronicles.
  2. How does Psalm 100 instruct us to serve the Lord?
  3. To what does Psalm 149 refer?
  4. How did the singers in Nehemiah’s time sing?
  5. What terms describe singing in the New Testament church?


God’s people have been a joyful people. It was His desire that as He delighted in His people, they would delight in Him. Zephaniah 3:17 speaks that God will “joy” over His people “with singing.” So God has joy in us, He gives us joy, and we rejoice in Him!

So far in today’s lesson, I have primarily spoken of the joy and gladness expressed in singing and worship. But the joy of the Lord is for everyday life as well. We have joy when we find His Word precious to our hearts (Jeremiah 15:16). He spoke His Word to us that His joy might remain in us, and be “full” (John 15:11). We “count it all joy” when we fall into temptations and troubles (James 1:2). With “joy” we draw water of life out of the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2). We have joy when lost sheep are brought to the Shepherd’s fold (Luke 15:6, 32). He makes mothers to be joyful (Psalm 113:9), and husbands to live joyfully with their wives (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

This brings us to the end of this series of lessons. I have been so inspired with all the scriptures which describe the saints. I have been challenged as I have read the personal stories and studied the histories of God’s people down through the years. There are many more character traits which we have not had time or space to cover. Maybe you can launch into a personal study which will inspire and challenge you as well. My earnest desire is to be a true child of God, and a part of that great number of holy saints of God!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck

Etta Johnson Davis Brant

January 19, 1904 — October 26, 1992

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. . .” Proverbs 17:22

It seems there should be a picture of a little lady beside this verse: Sis. Etta Johnson Davis Brandt. She was affectionately known as “Aunt Etta” to all; kindred or not. Joy seemed to overflow her small frame and her laughter was infectious.

Aunt Etta was a gracious hostess and the warmth of her hospitality was enjoyed by many, many people. It was not uncommon for there to be a steady flow of guests , especially young people, who stayed in her country home in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Aunt Etta’s example brings a new dimension to selfless living. The riches that she shared were more than monetary. She gave the world her time, her energy, her home and her joy.

“A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:31

—Sis. LaDawna Adams