Read Nehemiah 7 -- 8
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.
When Ezra read and explained the Scriptures from the morning until midday . . . all the people were attentive to 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, 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).
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). This confirms 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. 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 (Matthew 18:35).
Christ Revealed: 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 garment (robe) and on His thigh . . . and it is KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16).
Word Studies: 7:2 feared means revered; 7:3 by means on guard; watches means guards; 7:61 seed means genealogical descent; 7:65 Urim and Thummim means two objects kept in the high priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:30); 8:14 Booths means temporary shelters.
Government Official: Rep. Kenneth Calvert (CA) · Pray for Ron & Gloria Bechtel, Universal Printing, printers of Bible Pathway in U.S. · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Ed and Shirley Mantych · Country: Libya (5 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and Italian · No form of Christian witness to Libyans is permitted · 98% Muslim; 2% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and mercy (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Optional Reading: II Corinthians 10
Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 2:15