Summary: There are certain things we must do with God’s Word!
What to Do with God’s Word
Nehemiah Chapter Eight
There is no way to overestimate the power of the Word of God. It is a blessing just to read it. In the book of Revelation we are promised a blessing just from reading the book.
3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
“England has two books, the Bible and Shakespeare. England made Shakespeare, but the Bible made England.”- Victor Hugo
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible" --George Washington
"That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests" --Andrew Jackson
"Almost every man who has by his life-work added to the sum of human achievement of which the race is proud, of which our people are proud, almost every such man has based his life-work largely upon the teachings of the Bible" --Theodore Roosevelt
We come to a point in the book of Nehemiah when construction has been finished. The people have established their family lines. They are at the time of the New Year. The seventh month was their new year. They started the year off with the right thing, the reading of God’s Word!
They gathered at the Water Gate, representing cleansing, and called for Ezra the scribe to come and read the Word of God!
Here are four things the people did with the Word of God:
II. They honored the Word-vs. 1-3
The people gathered together in an open square in the city to hear Ezra the scribe read the Scriptures to them.
A. They honored the Word with their attendance!-8:1
The people gathered together in the public square to hear the reading of God’s Word!
When you faithfully attend services where the Word is being preached you honor the Word! You are saying that everything else on your agenda takes second place to God and His Word!
25 not 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.
B. They honored the Word with their attention!- 8:3
They listened to the Word being read for 5 or 6 hours per day. This continued for one week. This was also the Pentateuch.
When you sit in church make sure and give full attention to the Word that is being preached! Don’t let distractions pull you away.
The Bible in 50 Words -- "God made, Adam bit, Noah arked, Abraham split, Joseph ruled, Jacob fooled, bush talked, Moses balked, Pharaoh plagued, people walked, sea divided, tablets guided, promise landed, Saul freaked, David peeked, prophets warned, Jesus born, God walked, Love talked, anger crucified, hope died, Love rose, Spirit flamed, Word spread, God remained."
C. They honored the Word with their attitude
When the Word was read, they responded- 8:6
III. They sought to understand the Word- vs. 4-8
A young girl was asked who the mother of Jesus was and she said, “The King James virgin.”
It’s not enough just to hear the Word. We must understand it for it to do us any good.
Acts 18:26 (speaking of Apollos)
26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
A. They understood through public proclamation
This is like our “preaching service.” This is important for the people to gather together corporately and worship God.
Understand that the common man didn’t have a copy of the Bible. This was his only way of hearing the Scriptures read.
B. They understood through personal instruction
Today most emphasis is put on the preaching service. But there are some things that you will only learn in a smaller group setting with more personal instruction!
Come to Sunday School and small group ministries!
Nehemiah had teachers on hand who helped the people learn. 8:7
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
31 And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.
IV. They rejoiced in the Word- vs. 9-12
16 Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts.
The people’s initial reaction was to mourn and weep. But they were encouraged to rejoice in God’s word!
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was a member of the U.S. Supreme Court for 30 years. Justice Holmes explained his choice of a career by saying: "I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers."