Summary: After the wall was rebuilt, the people gathered together to offer up praise and worship through the reading of God's Word.
Date Written: February 21, 2013
Date Preached: February 24, 2013
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: Building with God
Sermon Title: Knowing/Learning God’s Word?
Sermon Text: Nehemiah 8 [ESV]
1And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel.
We have seen quite a transformation in the people of Jerusalem since Nehemiah has come into their lives!
When Nehemiah accepted God’s calling and traveled to Jerusalem, he found a people who were content with the status quo… who did not want change… or were scared of change because of how it would upset others…
They feared doing what God had called them to do because they had been threatened and challenged on it… Their faith and reliance upon God had been replaced with an acceptance of what the enemy allowed in their lives!
They were SCARED and beaten down, but NOW in ch8 we find a totally different people! A complete transformation has occurred!
We also know that the source of this transformation was God, but it was only possible because of a man’s willingness to surrender to God’s calling… it was only possible because the people were willing to surrender and submit to God’s calling…
God can do ANYTHING He desires, but here we see that He has chosen NOT to act unless His chosen vessels surrender to His calling… to His desires…
So these people had been transformed because they had surrendered to God and God had blessed! Now they were standing behind a wall that protected them and brought identity back to the people of God!
It was a time of accomplishment and it was a time when they could have fallen into a prideful state where they would think that what was accomplished was all THEIR OWN DOING! But we don’t see that… what is it we DO see?
Well in ch7 we had seen Nehemiah begin to shape the community and take a census and the people were beginning to settle in Jerusalem and back into their homes in the communities around Jerusalem.
After 7 chapters where Nehemiah was the focal point, here in ch8 we find the focus shift and the focal point for this chapter is the people themselves!
What do the people do now that they had accomplished SO much in such a short period of time? What do these people do now that they had overcome such tremendous odds to do something really wonderful?
Do they pat themselves on the back and say what a great job they had done? Do they lift up Nehemiah as leader of the year? NO! These people understand that what had happened was caused and happened because of God!
These people come together for what we may call a worship service… although there may be some slight differences from what we do today! Let’s look at what they did… and what it means for us today!
Well as I mentioned… what happens here is similar to our worship services today, but not exactly what we do…
1st the people gather… they felt a need to gather corporately together! This definitely something that God himself desires of HIS people… for them to gather together corporately! But not just to gather but to gather for a purpose…look what the Bible says about their gathering!
It tells us that, “…and all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate…”
They gathered for a purpose and that purpose was to call on the reading of God’s word and to worship God!
In the book of Hebrews we find that Scripture tells us that we are NOT to forsake the gathering together of the saints… believers…
24And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
For US today this is a great example! Worship is a critical part of our lives as believers! With all the work, with all the victories, with all that was going on in the lives of these people in Jerusalem, they realized how important it was to worship God!
I believe that as believers we SOMETIMES may take our worship for granted! We should NOT… Worship is a privilege and an honor for the believer! God is giving us a DIRECT AUDIENCE to hear and receive our worship… we should honor that and treat it with great respect! Worship is an important part of our walk with God!
And just as these people in Jerusalem TOOK the initiative to worship… SO should we! We must JUMP at the opportunity to offer worship to God! Worship should be a part of our everyday life… we can worship at home BUT this corporate worship we are privileged to have is VITAL for our fellowship!