Summary: Spiritual growth can only be accomplished by knowing, hearing and applying God’s precepts to our spiritual heart through His Word. In order to understand this passage in Nehemiah we should consider what brought the people of God to this point.
Spiritual growth can only be accomplished by knowing, hearing and applying God’s precepts to our spiritual heart through His Word. In order to understand this passage in Nehemiah we should consider what brought the people of God to this point. Therefore we must start in the beginning. In the book of Genesis we read of the disobedient of our progenitors, Adam and Eve. Until their disobedience to God’s Word creation was a perfect place, we could give God an A+ rating but because of mas disobedience sin entered the world. After the first act of sin came the first murder and on the slippery slope of sin man was on a continual downhill slide to the bottom.
From the first murder the world degraded to the point when God decided to destroy the whole of mankind. God noticed of Noah and his family so rather than destroying all of mankind God called Noah to preach repentance to the people who would not hear the God’s message of repentance the world was sent into a watery grave. All but Noah and his family were destroyed. Man continued to ignore the message of God.
God called a man by the name of Abraham to become the father of a people chosen by God. A people who through them God would bless the whole world. After God’s deliverance of His chosen people God gave them the laws by which God’s people should live. These God called people were to be different, they were to be not only chosen of God but a nation of Priest. A people who would have God as their King, but they did not want to be different they wanted to be like the other nations in the world. They wanted a worldly King, so God told the prophet Samuel to anoint Saul king of Israel. Again because of disobedience Saul rejected the Word from God and God removed Saul and put David as King.
Under the leadership David unites the tribes into one nation and it remained so until the death of Solomon. At Solomon death the nation divided into 2 nations, Israel and Juda. The idolatry and disobedience of both nations brought complete dispersion to the northern kingdom Israel and placed Juda the southern kingdom in the bondage of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar who conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC, destroyed the Temple, and exiled the people. Fifty years later, when Babylon was conquered by the Persians, King Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and granted them autonomy.
Nehemiah returned home to rebuild the City and upon completion of restoration of the Temple and City in Nehemiah Chapter 8 we read of the restoration and renewal of God’s people. (Ch 8:1-8).
Restoration and renewal can only be brought about by the reading and hearing God’s Word. In Chapter 7 verse 73-Chapter 10 verse 39 there at least 21 references to the Torah (God’s Word) center focus is to have God’s Word to become primary in the hearts of all who hear. All who could understand (v2) and at the end of the text it says all understood (v8). In (v. 7) there thirteen people proclaim the word. God had sent Nehemiah to rebuild the city and temple but restoration of Jerusalem that was not the central focus the people need to hear and know God. A reconstructed city will not bring God’s people into a right relationship with God.
Luke 9:25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?
Even though the construction project of Jerusalem was successful, for 13 years of rebuilding there was a need of spiritual renewal of the hearts of God’s people. In chapter 8 the remnant of Gods people gather and Ezra the priest (scribe) reads the Book of The Law of Moses to the people from Early morning till midday.
1st - Knowing Gods Word Nehemiah 8:2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.
When I look how God has blessed our country and its people, I see a similarity of the people of Juda and the world today! In verse one of our text the people had gathered as if they were one person, they came seeking a word from God. The told Ezra the scribe to bring the Tora, The Book of the Law. There seem to be a hunger to hear the commandments of God. It was the absence of knowing and hearing the Law of God that allowed them to suffer the punishment of God and their captivity.
In our text these passages refer to the remnant of people of God who gathered near the open square in front of the Water Gate. The time was the Feast of Trumpets, the date was about September 27th, 444 B.C. The harvest had past and the reconstruction of Jerusalem after 13 years was ending and there had been little concern for God and His Word. The time was the Feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23:24), and was about September 27, 444 B.C. This was the most sacred of the new moons and commenced the final month of religious festivals (Lev. 23:23-25; Num. 29:1-6). The concept of “understanding” was important as (Prov. 1:2), indicates (compare Exodus 12:26-27; Deut. 4:6; 6:6-9; 31:12-13). Mindless superstition was the mark of paganism “They have not known nor understood” (Isa. 44:18-20) and had been the downfall of apostate Israel.