Nehemiah's ministry in Jerusalem was finished (Neh. 7:1-2). The ever-important genealogy registry was consulted to determine who were genuine children of Israel (7:6-66). Ezra reads the Law (8:1-8). The joy of the Lord is your strength (8:10). Why (8:12)? Surprise! Through their study, they discovered a forgotten Law, the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles), and they fulfilled it (8:14-18). P.T.L.
The ultimate purpose of God for His people was more than the restoration of His Temple and the walls of Jerusalem. These man-made structures were powerless to protect the Israelites from their enemies unless the people knew and obeyed the Word of God. The Hebrew language in which the Book of the Law (Neh. 8:3) was written was no longer the common language of the people. During their captivity, they spoke Aramaic, which was the international trade language used by the Aramaeans, Persians, and Babylonians at that time.
After the wall was completed under Nehemiah's supervision, thousands of Jews assembled in Jerusalem day after day from sunrise until noon to hear Ezra and the Levites read and explain the Book of the Law. This resulted in a renewal of the Covenant relationship of the Israelites with God and the restoration of scriptural worship.
A revival took place, for all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law (8:9).
The most pressing need today is for Christians to become seriously concerned about reading all of the Word of God because it is a discerner (judge, critic) of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). God speaks to us through His Word and, as we read it, our various acts of disobedience, whether by ignorance, omission or commission, are brought to mind. This will lead to our conviction, confession, and cleansing. We will then become doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22).
Furthermore, the guilt which results from sins we have committed should no longer remain after we have confessed and repented. We dare not dig up past confessed and forgiven sins of our own or of others; instead, we should rejoice in the merciful, forgiving love of God through Christ our Savior. In our Lord's parable, the unforgiving servant was delivered to the tormentor. So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses (Matt. 18:35).
Thought for Today:
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (Matt. 5:7).
Through the names required to be registered for priestly service (Neh. 7:64). Christ, our Great High Priest (Heb. 3:1), will soon return wearing His Name, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16).
7:2 feared =had reverential, heartfelt submission to; 7:3 stand by =stand on guard; watches =guards; 7:61 seed =genealogical descent; 7:65 Urim and Thummim =two objects kept in the high priest's breastplate and used to tell the Lord's will (Ex. 28:30); 8:14 booths =temporary shelters.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Rick Hash • Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Reverend Michael Hall • Government Officials: Rep. Kenneth Calvert (CA) and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ) • Country: Mauritius (1 million) 500 miles east of Madagascar • Major languages: English and Creole • Limited religious freedom • 50% Hindu; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% Muslim; 5% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice and consider yourself blessed when you suffer for the Name of Christ (I Pet. 4:14).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 10
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 1:7