Reading Nehemiah chapter 8, I was amazed at how much the people of God loved to hear the reading of the “Book of the Law of Moses” and how they responded to it. The people just came back from the Babylonian exile and found the wall of Jerusalem broken down and the gates burned. Nehemiah against great opposition organized the rebuilding of the wall in fifty-two days. As part of the celebration for the completion of the rebuilding of the wall, they brought out the “Book of the Law of Moses” and had Ezra the scribe read it aloud before all the people.
Ezra read the book from daybreak till noon! WOW! Amazingly, no one fell asleep! Nehemiah 8:3 says “And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.” Some interesting responses to the reading were:
- As Ezra opened the Book, the “people all stood up.” — Nehemiah 8:5 (showing great respect for God’s Word. What about you and I? Do we respect God’s Word like we should?)
- All the people lifted their hands and responded “Amen! Amen!” and they “bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” — Nehemiah 8:6 (demonstrating that God’s Word should bring us to a place of worship and praise to Him.)
- As the people listened to the Word of God it had a profound effect on them and they began to weep. — Nehemiah 8:9 (Apparently the weeping was in response to hearing the Law of God. Either they were “convicted” or “saddened” and were weeping for sorrow because they hadn’t been keeping the Law or they were joyful because they now “understood the words that had been made known to them.” — 8:12 (How does God’s Word affect you? Does it cause you to weep or to shout for joy and celebrate?)
- When they discovered what God’s Law meant, and what they were suppose to do, according to the Law, they responded positively and obeyed. — Nehemiah 8:14-17 (How do you and I respond to the Truth of God’s Word?)
- Once they obeyed God’s Word, it brought them great joy. — Nehemiah 8:17 (We must remember that the “joy of the Lord is our strength” — Nehemiah 8:10. Obedience to God’s Word will bring us great joy and great strength! Does obeying God’s Word bring you joy?)
This celebration and the reading of the Book of the Law of Moses went on for seven days. “Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God.” They never got tired of hearing the Word of God! How amazing is that? Many get bored and tired before the minister can get to their first point during a 45 minute sermon on Sunday morning!
When we value the Word of God and treat it with the awe and respect it is due, that Living Word will have a profound affect on our lives. It will cause us to have great joy and celebration! Are you rejoicing in the Word of God? Does it excite you to hear the truth of the Living Word? My prayer is that it does!