As a reminder Neh 1-6 focuses on rebuilding the wall, a physical representation of a spiritual broken-ness in us. Chapters 7-13 focus on the rebuilding of the people and, now, in chapter 8, we see how powerful the Word of God is in that restoration process.
Chapters Thus Far:
1 – Nehemiah broken when learns of state of Jerusalem; because he loves God and hurts to see the state of His people and desires to see His promise fulfilled.
2: 1-10 – Nehemiah desires to bring God glory so much he abandons his Persian palace and heads out to do work in Jerusalem.
2:11-20 – We learn of the calling to Go and Rebuild.
3 – The Gates parallel the Christian life. Ah-Mazing stuff…
4 – External Opposition : way in which the devil attacks
5:1-6 – Responding to Anger Part 1 – wrong doing is inevitable; think before you speak.
6 -proper handling of opposition of comes with a attributes I do not have!
7 – When God takes roll of His people, which tribe will you be associated with?
Chapters 8 opens with Ezra reading the Law but what is compelling is that the people ask him to do it.
Oh, lawdy…I almost stopped reading right there. Talk about a FUNDAMENTAL difference in my life and, even, in the circle of friends/family I run with. Never, and I mean never, not one time, can I recall an instance we (my friends, my family, heck, my church!) gathered together and asked someone to bust out God’s word and start reading.
Not only was it asked to be brought out and he read, but we find out (in verse 3) he reads from early morning until mid-day!
In v6 he blesses the Lord and the people celebrate “AMEN, AMEN” while lifting their hands and praying then bowed and worshipped with their face on the ground.
While he got after it, some folks walked around helping explain it, translating as required.
People starting weeping, repenting, mourning. Conviction of God’s word brought about uncontrollable emotions.
Then in V9 Nehemiah declares this day as holy and (in my words) tells the people to knock it off. More graciously he actually says:
Deep, considerate, unrelenting, dangerous, frustrating, undeserving merciful love.
And what we should do when we experience that, then, is to honor God by celebrating life by enjoying the simple things He has provided.
That’s crazy talk, but I believe it is the deep spiritual truth God wants us to learn and is something you may need to learn.