SCRIPTURES: Nehemiah 8:1-18
BOTTOM LINE: The people of God stood in reverence for God’s Word! It was so powerful in their lives, that even though the Reading of God’s Word was calling for change in their lives, Nehemiah told them this is a time for JOY. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t preach Repentance in the absence of the Grace of God.
QUESTION: When We Hear God’s Word, Will We Respond?
DOWNLOAD: Chapter 8 has some really good stuff, that I think many of us deal w/ on a daily basis in our lives.
The first 6 weeks we saw the process unfold of Rebuilding the Wall …
So … in the first 6 chapters of NEHEMIAH … we discovered that if we desire the same kinds of LEADERSHIP as NEHEMIAH … We must …
- Be a person of prayer (1).
- Have a vision (2:1-3).
- Be a wise planner (2:4-8).
- Inspire his followers (2:11-20).
- Organize his task (3),
- Combine faith and common sense (4).
- Be compassionate (5:1-13).
- Possess personal integrity (5:14-19).
- Be absolutely impartial (5).
- Display a sense of mission (6).
And then last week, Kevin dove into chapter 7, and this is the beginning of this 4 chapter section where we see the Renewal of Jerusalem’s Worship … the walls have been rebuilt … the city is once again secure and ready for God’s People to not only return physically … but Spiritually as well.
NEHEMIAH gathers all the people at the Water Gate and asks Ezra to bring out the Pentateuch … which was the 5 books of Moses … and here’s a radical thought … I really believe that if people know where they can get the Word of God … when they are ready and searching, etc… they will come seek it out.
This is the 1st mention of Ezra here in NEHEMIAH … and he had actually been ministering there since 458 B.C. … so their ministry had been overlapping for quite some time … and it wasn’t just the MEN either … it was MEN, WOMEN, & CHILDREN … all who could understand.
My man read from early morning until Mid-Day … Can you imagine 5 or 6 hours … and the people were listening and attentive … and this wasn’t uncommon to be honest in Biblical recordings …
Paul … in Acts 20:9 … he preached from dinner time until Midnight … They didn’t even stop the sermon when a guy died … Paul raised him from the dead and kept preaching until daybreak.
For 6 hours they stood and listened as Ezra read the Word of God … When we’re having a Scripture Reading, we often will either ask us to stand or have the reading during a time of PRAISE when we’re already standing … and this is out of reverence for God and His Word …
They: 1) Cried out AMEN; 2) Lifted their Hands; & 3) Bowed Down
Are we willing to respond to the Word of God in our life in that manner? Hear God’s Word … understand it … cry out AMEN; Lift our hearts and arms and voices to God; and Bow Down in awe of God’s Grace in our lives?
If so … the result will move us to ACTION.
NEHEMIAH paints for us this amazingly clear picture for us to follow … and yet it’s often met w/ a ton of pushback isn’t it?
– I honestly pray that as we share life together, and serve God’s People … and gather together and CELEBRATE each week what God’s doing in our lives here … and as we CONNECT more w/ God and CONNECT w/ one another … I pray it moves us to action in our lives.
– Sure … Maybe we don’t ALWAYS share God’s Word in a way that it can be fully understood. My prayer is that we do … but we’re probably not batting 100% there …
– But I also think what often happens too is this … we truly hear the Word of God … and we understand what it says … we’re just not willing to allow it to move us to Action in our lives …
And we’re not the only one’s who struggled w/ this by the way … Jesus Himself said in Luke … “… why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?”
My question is the same for you as it’s been for me … Will We Respond?