Summary: It is obvious that the Spirit of God was moving and working in the hearts of those in Jerusalem even before reading the Word of God. Generally speaking, people do not often gather together as one for God “unless the Father draws them (John 6:44).”
Last week, we spoke the fact that GOD IS NOT ONLY CONCERNED WITH WHAT IS CREATED, HE IS CONCERNED WITH HOW WE TAKE CARE OF WHAT WAS CREATED. Nehemiah began moving from the building project itself, to taking the necessary steps to insure that what was built (or created) would be protected and preserved.
Over the last 100+ years, we have seen churches, colleges, believers of all denominations, publishing houses come to a point where they no longer proclaim the truth of the Gospel. Or that it is a Gospel for all and no man, no woman, no race, no age group, no background will be exempt from answering to God and being held accountable for their actions on the Day of Judgement. We will all be held to the same standards with the same expectations that have been laid out to us in the Word of God. Its a tragic thing to listen to groups and individuals that used to be fundamental in their beliefs begin to deny key doctrines of the faith.
Nehemiah 8:1-3-- And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel. 2 Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
It is obvious that the Spirit of God was moving and working in the hearts of those in Jerusalem even before reading the Word of God. Generally speaking, people do not often gather together as one for God “unless the Father draws them (John 6:44).” When people are in the world ‘as one,’ they do not desire to gather together to hear the Word of God. HOW MUCH DO YOU DESIRE TO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD?
Its interesting that the bible tells us that “all who could hear with understanding.” It doesn’t say that only some gathered together to hear, it specifically states ‘ALL’ in referencing the fact that there is not one single person who does not need to hear the Word of God. For those who choose to say that they don’t understand it, it is God that gives the understanding.
As a matter of fact, the “ALL WHO COULD HEAR WITH UNDERSTANDING” desired to hear it so much that they stayed and listened for 6 (!) hours. Refusing to buckle under the pressure of foolishly serving the world by tending to worldly pleasures. Instead, they chose the greater of things which was the Word of God. It is beyond evident that God had moved and touched the heart of those who sacrificed their time and their day and refused to let go and walk away until they were satisfied that they had received a blessing. Their blessing did not consist of hearing things that simply gave them a false sense of security or a comfort slogan that allowed them to pat themselves on the back and go home feeling as if there was no need for repentance. Instead, they heard the Book of the Law, which was God’s instructions to man for how we are supposed to walk with Him.
They were reminded of the fact that for obedience and faith there is a blessing but for disobedience there is cursing. They were reminded that God chose them and promised to bless them and desires to deliver us from bondage and redeem us. They were also advised to “Be Holy as I am Holy.” They were to walk before God as a holy people. They were taught how to worship God. They were told how they were to fulfill their calling as a nation of priests. They were given laws and requirements and warned not to make laws that man would use to supersede the Law of God, and instead, follow the law of God closely without compromise. They were reminded of how disbelief would lead them into a lifetime of wandering and being lost without finding their ‘True North’ in God. They were reminded how easily they could be defeated when they trusted in themselves and how easily they could have victory when they trusted in God. They were shown the consequences of failing to mix faith with the promises of God. They were also reminded that they don’t have to stay lost and in the wilderness confused and lonely, but instead, they could turn to God for redemption and direction. They were also shown that despite their disobedience, God still cared for them and desired for them to feel His presence. Despite their continued rebellion, He miraculously supplied their needs. They were provided with water, manna, and quail. They were reminded about all that God had done for them and about God’s holy law which was so vital to their ability to remain in the land and function as God’s holy nation and as a kingdom of priests to the nations. They were also reminded to teach others to love and obey God.