Summary: God wants to be with His people
Introduction : “Now on the second day the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Law. And they found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.” Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.”
What days do you remember the presence of the Lord most often during the calendar year? Most likely your answer would include these three days: Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. What would happen if that were to increase to 19 days as in the nation of Israel? Because of who God is and in light of all that is going on in the world, we need constant reminders of need to bow down and worship the Lord God Almighty!
Note – “It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” —Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation of a National Feast Day, March 30, 1863.
Note – 7 Jewish Feasts: Passover (God’s deliverance – Jesus’ death); Unleavened Bread (Exodus, leave old and enter new – Our walk of holiness before the Lord); First fruits – (Bring first crops – God’s provision – Resurrection of Jesus Christ); Pentecost (End barely harvest and begin wheat harvest – Joy and thanksgiving – Coming of the Holy Spirit); Trumpets – (Begin the new civil year – Joy and thanksgiving to God – Rapture of the church); Day of Atonement – (Removal of sin from people and nation – Fellowship with God); Tabernacles – (God’s protection and provision in wilderness – Encourage people to trust God, guidance, protection – Unfulfilled until the second coming and all Israel is gathered into her land).
I. Remembering His Provision
A. Centered on the Word of God Neh. 8:13-14
Ezra had been preaching and teaching God’s all day and on the second day the people wanted to hear more and more of the Word!
Note - The men were especially eager to grow in the knowledge of God’s word. The desire was especially strong in the men to learn about who God is and who He called them to be. There was a desire to learn God’s Word from Ezra so they could lead their families, be strong men in society, be found faithful in their worship and service to the Lord and others.
I pray there is a great longing in my heart and your heart to be found faithful to -Know God’s Word – Grow in God’s Word – Show God’s Word.
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Note – The word of God was central to the spiritual revival of this Jewish community of faith and what is going to bring revival into God’s people’s lives today is the Holy Word of God lived out through Spirit filled people of God!
Note - Several years ago, newspapers told how a new Navy jet fighter shot itself down. Flying at supersonic speed, it ran into cannon shells it had fired only a few seconds before. The jet was traveling too fast! You are also traveling too fast, if you don’t have time to worship God in regular church services, if you don’t have time to read the Bible, if you don’t have time to pray. If you’re neglecting any of these, you’re probably traveling too fast to hear the sound of God’s voice. You can’t tell whether you are in the center of His will. Better slow down before, like the jet, you shoot yourself down.