And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose… Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground… the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Nehemiah 8:1-8
Wow! I love this. I noticed the responses to the Word of God. Responses we should have.
The asked for it to be read! They wanted to hear the words.
They listened as it was read and explained to them...for hours...standing!
They blessed the Lord.
They stood up to hear, they bowed low and worshiped. What reverence for God’s word!
Later in the chapter…
They wept and were grieved when they heard the words. Why? Maybe they realized what they were missing. Maybe they were gripped by the weight of their sin.
They celebrated because they understood the words!
On the second day of reading, they learned about the Feast of Booths which had been commanded but they had not been obeying since the days of Joshua. They set about obeying.
There followed great rejoicing.
Oh, to have this great respect for the Word of God. To value it for what it is… God’s word! Oh, to be grieved by our sin! Oh, to have this quick obedience. Oh, to enjoy this great rejoicing!
How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.
I noticed something today in Nehemiah that might not have stood out to me, but because of our Bible study last night, it jumped out.
Last night we began Exodus 25 and this was the verse I read…
Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. Exodus 25:2 They were about to build the tabernacle.
Today I read...
Some from among the heads of fathers' households gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury… (there follows a list of who gave and what they gave.) Nehemiah 7:70 They were about to rebuild Jerusalem.
God’s work goes forward by those whose heart moves them to give. God knows and keeps an account.
This all made me think of this woman…
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury.
And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins.
And He said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them;
for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on." Luke 21:1-4
And that made me think of the Lord Jesus.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9
Nehemiah is such a great study in working for God and meeting opposition against God. Having not succeeded in destroying the work, the enemies went after Nehemiah, the person. They were relentless is every attempt to destroy God’s work. Four times they asked for a personal meeting. Nehemiah refused, realizing the attempt to get the work to stop.
So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.
What a clear thinker! The fifth time, they sent a letter making up stuff. I love his response.
Then I sent a message to him saying, "Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind." Nehemiah 6:8
Nehemiah knew what was important and kept at it. He didn’t respond to false reports but said they were made up. Then he pressed on and prayed.
For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, "They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done." But now, O God, strengthen my hands. Nehemiah 6:9
What a great prayer! In the midst of the work, some were lashing out trying to weaken his hands, “O God, strengthen my hands.”
Are you serving the Lord? Have you met opposition in one form or another? Maybe you need this clear perspective. Perhaps Nehemiah’s prayer is your answer. "Oh God, strengthen my hands." And then? Go in the strength of the Lord!
Nehemiah 3 today.
It was time to repair the broken down walls.
The people get to work.
I enjoy seeing everyone working together.
Side by side. Carrying their load.
I love what William MacDonald says about this:
Men and women, artisans and laborers, princes and commoners, all labored side by side. There was only one case of disunity—the nobles of Tekoa shirked their responsibility (v. 5). Some who finished their assigned task took on an additional portion of the wall (cf. vv. 4 and 21; 5 and 27). God has given different work assignments to believers today. He has equipped us with various gifts and abilities appropriate to our calling, and He knows who is not really involved and who is doing double duty. "Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is" (1 Corinthians 3:13).
Today is a good day to get to work for the Lord!
Go, labor on: spend, and be spent,
What makes you cry? I started reading Nehemiah today (are you reading your whole Bible?) and was again impressed by a man who wept over sin… his personal sin and his county. Oh, if we only cried over sin… what a marked difference that would make in us and in our country!
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, "O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.' They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." Now I was cupbearer to the king. Nehemiah 1:4-11
More than anything I would like to encourage you in your walk with God!