Read Nehemiah 9 -- 10
In Today's Reading:
Fasting and confession of sins; reading of the Law; confession of God's goodness; new covenant to keep the Law.
Verse for Today:
The children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and. . . . separated themselves from all strangers (non-Jews), and stood and confessed their sins. . . . and read in the Book of the Law of the Lord their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshiped the Lord their God (9:1-3).
Ezra stands out as a man who knew the Scriptures. Not only did he read from the Law, but helped the people to understand the Law. . . . gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading (Nehemiah 6:7-8). Teaching the Word of God was so essential that it is mentioned seven times in this chapter (vss 2,3,7,8,9,12,13).
The Israelites were taught during these sessions about the Feast of Tabernacles, also called the Feast of Booths or Succoth. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrated the Fall harvest and commemorated the 40 years that their ancestors dwelt in booths in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:42-43). It also foreshadowed Christ, Who dwelt (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14). The booths were temporary living shelters made from tree branches woven together. The Feast of Tabernacles lasted from the 15th day through the 21st day of Tishri (the seventh month of the Jewish religious year).
The Feast of Tabernacles had been observed as required by the Law, but there was a movement of the Holy Spirit following the reading of the Word of God that led the Levites to say to the people: Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be Your glorious Name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise (Nehemiah 9:5).
The priests revealed how God, in manifold mercies, had blessed their ancestors and provided His Good Spirit to instruct them. . . . they lacked nothing (9:19-21). The same Holy Spirit still guides believers, as Jesus promised: When He (the Spirit of Truth) is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and . . . guide [all true believers] into all Truth (John 16:8). Several centuries after Nehemiah, a similar move of the Spirit came upon the people as Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost: They were pricked (convicted of their sin) in their heart, and said . . . what shall we do? Then Peter said . . . Repent, and be baptized . . . and [you] shall receive the gift of the Holy [Spirit] (Acts 2:37-38). It is the Holy Spirit who imparts His gifts individually as He will (1 Corinthians 12:11). The Holy Spirit also seeks to guide each Christian into the occupation or position chosen by God to prepare us for our promised eternal inheritance.
Submitting to Christ as Lord of our lives and reading all His Word is vital if the Holy Spirit is to teach and guide us into all truth. He alone can enlighten our minds, impart conviction of sin, and empower us to live a sanctified, holy life (2:16; 6:11). Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
As the Creator (Nehemiah 9:6). All things were created by Him (Colossians 1:16).
9:18 wrought = committed; 9:22 divide them into corners = allotted and set boundaries; 9:25 fat = rich; 9:29 withdrew the shoulder = turned away; hardened their neck = were stubborn; 10:1 Tirshatha = governor; 10:28 Nethinims = Temple attendants or servants; 10:31 leave = forego.
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Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 11
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Timothy 3:16