Summary: The spiritual renewal of the people begins with a challenge to the mind, continues with an effect on the emotions and concludes with a change of the will.
The Festival of Booths
Nehemiah 8: 13-18
Nehemiah chapter 8 records one of the most spectacular celebrations of the work of God in the O.T. The spiritual renewal of the people begins with a challenge to the mind, continues with an effect on the emotions & concludes with a people returning to God
There were three different groups which returned from Babylonian captivity under three different leaders.
The first,,, led by Zerubbabel in 537-536 B.C., we have already discussed,,,
Eighty years later the scribe Ezra led another return of exiles in 457 BC.
This return is described in Ezra….
They brought back about twenty five metric tons of silver and gold vessels taken from the temple by Nebuchnezzar.
We spoke on last week about how,,, Without any military protection they made this long, hard, wild and dangerous journey….
But they were up for the task because they had humbled themselves before God and God placed His support and protecting hand upon them.
Under godly Ezra a restoration definitely took place but no real renewal of the inner man occurred.
Ninety two years after the first return (& 12 years after Ezra’s return) the third and final return was led by Nehemiah in 445 B.C.
Nehemiah was not looking for a task for he already had one in the upper echelons of the Persian government.
But his heart was open to God and sensitive to His leading.
So,,,, so as Nehemiah fasted and prayed and sought God concerning the fulfillment of His promises to Israel in His Word, God touched Nehemiah and told him to go.
The story of Nehemiah’s return with a third group of exiles, how he rebuilt the walls and the obstacles and opposition he over came are recorded in the first seven chapters.
After he arrived he looked over the city for three days and formulated a plan to accomplish the task.
The job was completed in a record 52 days (6:15).
If God’s servants will work in God’s way, using God’s methods,,,, saint’s I tell you,,, great things can happen….
Chapters 8-10 are the core issue of the book though because they deal with the people’s spiritual condition before God.
Even though they were no longer exposed to robbers or armies behind the security of new gates and walls they were required to deal with another issue.
They,,,, they needed a deeper spiritual life.
And,,,Spiritual life only comes from the Lord and comes through His Word, prayer, confession, humbling oneself before God and deliberately turning from our wicked ways.
Here too, they needed leadership.
This spiritual leadership also came from Nehemiah, though he was a governmental not a religious leader, he convened the people on the Feast of Trumpets (Num. 19:1-6) for a holy convocation.
Nehemiah chapter eight records one of the most joyful and spectacular celebrations of the work of God in the O.T.
Chapter eight shows us three preparations that God uses to bring revival.
I. READING AND RETAINING THE WORD, 1-8.
II. RESPONSE TO THE WORD, 9-12.
III. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORD, 13-18.
This morning, I am going to show you where,,,The spiritual renewal of the people begins with a challenge to the mind, continues with an effect on the emotions and concludes with a change of the will.
I. READ AND RETAIN THE WORD, 1-8.
A far more, desperate need than the protective walls around Jerusalem was the people’s need for the Word of God in their hearts in there minds.
The spiritual energy derived by completion of the gates and walls allowed God to focus His people on His Word after years of suppressing this vital need.
Thus when a solemn assembly was called the people all who were old enough to understand, (v. 2, And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
Ne:8:3: And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.) came by droves to the Water Gate on the east side of the city.
The festivities occur in the new moon of the seventh month, the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, an eight day festival of thanksgiving.
The feast days of Israel were designed to be joyous occasions, (Deut.I want read them all because time want permit it but jot these scriptures down in your margin Duet. 17:7,12,18; 14:26; 16:11,14) tells us that this brought glory to God, just as His people were designed to be joyous people who bring glory to God. [Kinda like our after church fellowships, but eight days long.]