Monday, April 23, 2012

Bringing the Book

Nehemiah 8

1 all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.
2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear[a] and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”
12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.

In this chapter, we see the people ASK for the Book to be brought, and read.
We see them listening ATTENTIVELY, morning and night, to the Word.
We see them STAND in RESPECT, and BOW in worship, humbling themselves.
They were TAUGHT from the Book, to increase their understanding.
They WEPT as they heard the Law, recognizing their failures.
We see them ENCOURAGED to go OUT and help OTHERS, to CELEBRATE the word.
Again, they were ENCOURAGED not to mourn, but to REJOICE.
They OBEYED the command, went OUT, helped OTHERS, and had a FEAST.
The people did these things because they UNDERSTOOD the Book and the Word.
The Book was read DAILY, and they ASSEMBLED regularly.

This is a beautiful example of how we are to live our lives, and conduct ourselves, for the glory of God.  Are we eager to hear the Word? Attentive and studious, striving to understand it?

Are we respectful of God's Word, humbling ourselves, admitting and grieving over our faults?
Do we go out to help the world? Not only in physical or monetary things, but in bringing them to the truth of the Word?

Do we celebrate with joy the things God has done, and has promised for our future? Do we meet regularly and eagerly with other believers to encourage and exhort one another in the Work?

I found this chapter to be a sort of 'heads up' in regards to my own attitude and actions.  It reminded me to always keep God's Word at the forefront of my days.  To many times we say we don't have time for Bible reading, or we'll get to it later, only to crunch it in as fast as possible.  The above attitudes are nowhere to be found. 

Yet if we put Him and His Word (and His Work) foremost, the rest will fall into place, every time.
How awesome is our God!

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