Read Nehemiah 7 -- 8
In Today's Reading:
Nehemiah's appointment of leaders; genealogy of returned exiles; Scriptures read and explained; the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) observed.
Verses for Today:
From the morning until midday . . . all the people were attentive unto the Book of the Law. . . . when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.. . . And the Levites, caused the people to understand the Law (8:3,5-7).
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 (Nehemiah 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 Syrians, 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 their true worship of Him. Previous failures clearly testified that, without a commitment of obedience to His Word, all their efforts to rebuild were in vain.
A revival took place, for all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law (8:9). And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day to the last day, [Ezra] read in the Book of the Law of God (8:17-18). God proves again that knowledge of the Law leads people to repent of their sins, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).
The most pressing need today is for Christians to become seriously concerned about reading all of God's Word, because It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 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 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 of them. We should never dig up our past confessed and forgiven sins or those 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 (Matthew 18:35).
Through the names required to be registered for priestly service (Nehemiah 7:64). Christ, our Great High Priest (Hebrews 3:1), will soon return wearing His Name written on both His vesture (robe) and on His thigh . . . and it is KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16).
7:2 feared = revered; 7:3 by = on guard; watches = guards; 7:61 seed = genealogical descent; 7:65 Urim and Thummim = two objects kept in the high priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:30); 8:14 Booths = temporary shelters.
Government Official: Rep. Kenneth Calvert (CA) · Pray for one more person to read through the Bible · Country: Hong Kong (7 million) in eastern Asia · Major languages: Chinese and English · Limited religious freedom · 90% Chinese religions; 10% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Thank the Lord that His people are precious in His sight (Zechariah 9:16).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 10
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Timothy 2:15