Summary: The Word of God transforms. It brings conviction and joy. Do not undermine the intake of God's Word. Cultivate a respect for His Word.
RECAP last week's message – Rebuilding the People of God
(1) Watch Your Character. Nehemiah chose people who are faithful and fear God. Your greatest ability is dependability.
(2) Remember Your Identity. Nehemiah organised the people and reinstated the worship of God among the people. This is what made the nation, a nation under God; this is what made them the people of God.
The Lord says, “Let My people go, to that they may worship Me.”
• You must worship God, not just on Sundays but every day of your life, because that defines you. We are worshippers of God.
• Rom 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.”
• Worship is more than music and songs on a Sunday; it is an offering of our lives. [See Clip]
[Read Neh 8:1-12]
Rom 12:2 — "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
• How can we renew our mind today? The same way that God’s people renewed their minds in the time of Nehemiah: through the Word of God.
• If you need to change things in your life, those changes will come through knowledge of the Word of God.
If you have a new DVD player and it’s not working properly, what would you do? You should read the instructions.
The Bible is God’s instruction book for our lives.
• The people have to get back to the Scriptures.
• 2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
For 70 years, under captivity in Babylon, the people did not have access to the Scriptures, the Book of the Law mentioned here.
• This is the Torah (the Pentateuch), the first 5 books of the OT penned down by Moses. It reveals to them the plan and will of God.
• But as captives, for 70 years they have not heard from it. Whatever they knew of their faith and God came from memory or the words passed down from others.
• By this time, they had forgotten far more than they remembered about God’s will and God’s ways. They wanted to know God’s will and purposes for them.
Ezra the scribe stood on a specially-made platform and when he opened the book, the people stood up.
• That was how much they honoured God’s Word and longed for it.
• The people worshipped God and then Ezra read the Scripture from daybreak to noon.
The Word brought conviction. The people wept as they listened to the words of the Law (v.9)
• The more they heard the more they realized just how much they had strayed from the will of God, how disobedient they had been.
• Their failure was evident. Their guilt was obvious and they felt it deeply. They wept in sorrow.
• This sorrow was good sorrow – it led to repentance. It directs them back to the right path.