Rejoice, O Heavens! Instrumental Guitar Praise from Israel

Ronu Shamayim

Michael Nissim is a 27-year-old Israeli believer in Yeshua whose parents taught him to love the Lord and to love Israel. He began taking piano lessons at the age of six and then progressed to trombone and drums. When he was 14 he fell in love—with the guitar! After a few lessons, he was determined to learn the instrument on his own and began to plan and arrange songs for his own enjoyment.

Serving in the Israeli army brought Michael a new realization of his need for God and an increased desire for holiness. He developed a new appreciation for contemporary messianic worship songs and for some of the classic hymns of the faith. His friends asked him to record some of his music so they could enjoy it all the time. “Ronu Shamayim” is the eventual result.

Nissim’s years of playing and his intense love of the Lord are evident on this album, which contains his instrumental guitar renditions of 13 songs: two are classic hymns, one a praise chorus, one an original composition by Shmulik, Michael’s brother, and nine are worship songs composed by Israeli believers that are regularly sung in Israel’s messianic congregations. To each, Nissim deftly manages to add a unique flair.

Michael’s style often imparts a classical feel. In “Hodu L’Adonai Ki Tov” (“Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good”), he creates moving contrapuntal lines that are reminiscent of a Bach chorale. He uses that same technique on “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” to highlight moving bass lines, creating interest and adding variety to the multiple stanzas.

“He is Lord” begins as a simple praise chorus. After a straightforward first verse, Michael adds musical zest with countermelodies and chord substitutions on verse two and a “Spanish guitar” flavor on verse three. He then closes the song as simply as he began it.

Shalom Rav” (“Great Peace”) by David Loden is a classic messianic worship song in both Israel and the United States. Michael’s version is simple and uncluttered and highlights both the beauty of the melody and the subtleties of the chord structure.

In “Yesh li Otcha, Yeshua” (“I Have You, Jesus”) a second guitar part gives added weight to the melody. Though purely instrumental like the rest of the record, this song really “sings”—you’ll feel as if you can almost hear lyrics.

Singer and composer Elisheva Shomron wrote four of the songs on the album. “Lo Gavah Libi” (“My Heart Is Not Proud”) has a beautiful and haunting melody, as does “Leman’an Zion” (“For the Sake of Zion”). Nissim brings out the beauty of both pieces by varying his style from verse to verse while remaining true to the spirit of each song.

The album closes, fittingly, with David Loden’s beautiful “Ram VeNisa HaMashiach” (“High and Exalted Is the Messiah”). This classic nicely completes this stylish collection of worship and praise to Yeshua the Messiah.