What Do You Expect?
- Friday, September 07, 2012
God’s people had been living in a foreign land for 70 years, and now 50,000 of them were returning to Jerusalem, but they didn’t know the first thing about the Word of God. So, God put it on Ezra’s heart to do something about it.
“Ezra opened the book… and all the people stood up. Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” Nehemiah 8:5-6
These people are expecting something to happen! When the book is opened, they’re expecting an encounter with God. What do you expect to happen when the Bible is preached? It was 1,000 years since God had spoken these words to Moses, but when the book was opened and explained, these people clearly believed God was speaking to them.
When they heard this book read and explained, they recognized they were not listening to the words of a man, they were hearing the Word of God. They gave it their full attention, “He read it aloud from daybreak till noon… and all the people listened attentively” (8:3).
“The people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the law.” Nehemiah 8:9
It seems pretty clear that the reason they cried was that they realized how far short their lives came when they were measured against the law of God. Do you think that should happen to us today? Absolutely! One of the first effects of receiving the Word of God is that it humbles us. You start to see things in your life that you didn’t see before. You become sensitive to attitudes and actions that grieve the heart of God.
The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword. It pierces, cuts and wounds! But that’s never the final purpose of God’s Word. You may have experienced preaching that made you feel small, but that was all it did. You came out saying, “What a miserable person I am, I must do better,” but eventually you lost the strength to keep trying.
Ezra explained the law of God, and many were reduced to tears, but the ministry does not end there. Conviction of sin is never an end in itself. It is always a means to an end, and the end is that we come to a deeper appreciation of Christ…
Recently on Today's Features
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content