Please Turn to: Nehemiah chapter 8
As you can see, the title of my message this morning is "The Water Gate Incident."
Those of you who were at our Sunrise service last Sunday may remember that I mentioned the Watergate Scandal —
When President Nixon tried to cover up his illegal activity and was eventually forced to resign as president of the United States.
And I almost apologized this morning for mentioning it two weeks in a row,
But in reality, I’m not going to say anything else about Richard Nixon this morning.
And we’re not going to talk about the Watergate incident that happened in Washington D.C. in 1974.
Instead, we’re going to talk about another Water Gate incident that happened in the year 445 BC.
Neh 7:73b-8:3 — When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled as one man in the square before the WATER GATE. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel. So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
So far in the book of Nehemiah, we’ve seen how Nehemiah went about accomplishing the work given to him by God —
— rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem.
The work was begun in the first month, and it was completed on the twenty-fifth day of the sixth month.
And I have to make a correction to some of my previous sermons from Nehemiah:
I’ve been assuming that the months being mentioned in the book of Nehemiah were the Jewish months,
But I just learned that the names of the months in the book of Nehemiah were actually the Babylonian names for the 12 months.
Anyway, chapter eight begins on the first day of the seventh month — the month called Ethanim, by the Babylonians;
which would be about October 8, 445 B.C.
And the lesson for us in Chapter 8 is that after reconstruction, there is also a need for re-instruction.
That is, that all of us need to learn to see life from God’s perspective.
We need to change the way we think about ourselves,
and we need to change the way we think about life.
All of us grow up in the world and live in the world and learn many things from the world;
— ideas and attitudes that we sometimes don’t even realize are ungodly.
And so, we need to be re-instructed about these things.
The New Testament verse that we can compare with the lesson found in Nehemiah chapter 8 is
Romans 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;
As Jesus said in John 8:32 — "...the truth will set you free."
If you have a new VCR and it’s not working properly, what should you do?
You should read the instructions.
Well, the Bible is God’s instruction book for our lives.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 — All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
And so, when something is going wrong in our lives, why is it that the last thing we think of is to read the Bible?
When, in fact, the Bible contains instruction we need to live righteous lives.
Also, the instruction book for your new VCR will tell you to push certain buttons and set certain switches and put the tape in like this.....
But what if you just ignored the instructions and pushed whatever buttons you wanted and set the switches all wrong....?
You’d mess it up!
And in the same way, the Bible is our instruction book,
but it will only help us if we do what it says to do.
The Bible says to live your life a certain way:
— Do this.....Don’t do that.....Live like this.....Don’t live like that.....
But what if you just ignore the instructions and do whatever you want and live however you like.....?
You’ll mess your life up just like you messed your VCR up!