Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday - Nehemiah 8 - Collective Hunger


n Matthew 5:6 we see that it is an immeasurable blessing when people are hungry for good; for truth; for right (Matthew 4:4). In the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, there was a spiritual hunger in Jerusalem. The people came to Ezra and asked to hear the laws of Moses. So, that is what they got.

From a wooden pulpit, Ezra read the Pentateuch aloud to everyone who could listen.  He read all morning. The people stood in respect for the Scriptures.  And, they praised God with uplifted hands, open mouths and bowed heads (Nehemiah 8:6).

The men of God who were with Ezra also spent time explaining the meaning of Moses' words in a way that was intelligible for the common people. It was a regular preachin' meetin' (Nehemiah 8:8).

The people were greatly disturbed by the truth. They were full of sorrow, guilt and fear. But, the message from God to them was one of kindness, gentleness, goodness, mercy, comfort and cheer (Nehemiah 8:10). They responded appropriately (Ecclesiastes 7:2), but God had better things in mind for them (Jeremiah 29:11 & Nehemiah 8:12).
When the people heard the truth, they changed.  They began to move from positions of ignorance and disobedience to places of submission and blessing. Specifically, they discovered that there was a great feast which was supposed to be held during the 7th month (the same month which they were in). They were to commemorate the wanderings of their ancestors in a week-long festival called the Feast of Tabernacles. So, they did it, because God had commanded it (Leviticus 23:39-43).
And, kept reading and studying the Scriptures. They wanted more. They had meetings every day during that week and continually listened to the reading of their Bible  (Nehemiah 8:18).

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