Sunday, September 28, 2008

They Had Understood

September 28: Nehemiah 8-10

1 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.

9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Nehemiah 8:1-3 & 9-12

They Had Understood

I am in awe of the many nuggets of truth that lied buried in the Scriptures, just waiting for us to dig them up, polish them, and apply them to our own lives. Our devotional today contains such a "nugget" as the subject of this devotional.

The wall was completed, the breaches were repaired, and the gates were hung! Through fierce opposition the task was completed. Now came the time for rejoicing.

The people gathered together to hear the Book of the Law of Moses read to them by Nehemiah, the governor. He read to them from early in the morning to mid-day, and we are told that, The ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. As a matter of fact, they were so moved by the words they heard that many of them began to weep. This day, however, was not to be a day of mourning, but a day of rejoicing. Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites encouraged the people, Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

So where is this little nugget of truth? Look at the end of verse 12 shown above: because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

That begs the question, Does everyone who reads or hears the Word of God understand it? How can one person delve into the Word and find salvation, peace, and comfort, while another can only find an angry God filled with vengeance? They are reading the same book! Why the difference?

This is a very important question for us to consider today. The Holy Spirit opens hearts to hear and understand the Word, while others remain dull to its meaning. The Word of God is a living book; it is not a book about dead men and women who lived thousands of years ago. It is a book filled with the living waters of salvation gracing its pages.

If God has opened our hearts to understand the salvation granted to us as provided by the blood of Christ, it is truly a day of rejoicing. Oh, we may weep as well, but they are just tears of great joy.

Go to Christ today and thank Him for opening your heart and mind so that you understand the Word of God.

God Bless You,

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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