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Summary: How do we respond to God’s word? Is it a casual experience, or something that we treasure every day we are able? Are we reminded of what God has done because we spend time in His word? How we treat His word is a tremendous invitation to others.

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God’s Word Brings Revival

Nehemiah 8:1-18

Introduction

- Nehemiah is a great study of leadership; shows faithful obedience to God

- This morning, we continue our examination of this incredible story

- We last left off with Nehemiah beginning to populate the city

-- However, there is something to note about this particular section of scripture

-- It is a departure from the chronological order that we have been studying

- Most conclude that this section changes perspective and perhaps author

-- Nehemiah is written in the first person, but this is in the third person

- It is probable that Ch. 8-10 are in an insert to the story; an added perspective

-- Remember, Nehemiah is populating the city, and here we see the population

- If you’ve ever moved before, you know that moving one family can take time

-- Here, we see an entire civilization established; with rituals, people, etc.

-- More than likely, this was later in time, (after Ezra had come to Jerusalem)

-- APP: It is still true and God’s word, just not appearing in chronological order

- Read Nehemiah 8:1-18

- Pray

∆ Point 1 – A Great Assembly

- The location at the water gate is believed to have been located outside the city

-- This would have been a place of gathering, perhaps with lots of open space

--Also, and this is critical, notice how they’ve assembled outside the temple

- APP: What I see here is, sometimes the church needs to leave the bldg.

-- It is so easy to stay cooped up within the walls of a church; safe/secure

-- RE: Worship should happen everywhere, and these people demonstrate it

- During the seventh month; they celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacle

-- Deut 31:10-12, “Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Festival of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing. Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.”

- Ezra knew Deuteronomy; this was in mind when he arranged for this assembly

-- Note: Everyone that could understand was invited to be a part of this gathering

- RE: It was not just for the religious priests … but for all to take part in

-- Why? Because God’s word is to be experienced by all, not just select few

- Ezra read the Law (v3) from daybreak until noon … about 6-7 hours

-- Consider this: these people were excited to gather to hear it for that long

- IMP: Outside: the Law is greater than the temple; more impact than the building

-- Their gathering together outside signifies this; shows a desire to hear from Him

-- APP: He is more valuable than the sacred places we keep; great lesson here

- Ezra stands on a high platform to read (for visibility and acoustics) (v4)

-- This would’ve enforced word’s authority and importance over the hearers

-- With Ezra is a list of men who stood up with him; leaders in community

-- They would’ve been a supportive role; but also testifying to the Word

- As Ezra opens the scroll (v5), all the people stood up

-- Wow … the reverence shown for God’s word here is incredible

-- Out of respect for God’s word, they stood up because it meant something

-- APP: How you treat God’s word says something about its importance to you

- TRANS: It is evident to us, how they felt when they heard God’s truth

∆ Point 2 – Hearing/Responding to the Word

- Traditionally, a blessing would be offered before the Law was read (v6)

-- And what we see here is that the people respond, in unison, in agreement

• First, they lift their hands in worship to the One who provides for them

• Second, they respond in unison to God’s worthiness: “Amen! Amen!”

• Third, they worship God openly, without shame or embarrassment

- Represents humility before the Lord; humbleness before God of the universe

-- It’s an expression of devotion to all that God has done for them

- Ezra is supported by 13 men who are teachers of God’s word (v7)

-- They would’ve circulated through the crowd; discussing the word

-- Not so much interpreters – but men who would further explain it

- They are men who Ezra trusted for this particular event

-- It is probable that, since this reading was several hours, that they took turns

-- After the reading of each section, they would’ve further explained it

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