Nehemiah 8:10 for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
A very interesting thing happened in the book of Nehemiah. If you recall, Israel was returned from exile and Nehemiah organized the rebuilding of the wall surrounding Jerusalem. My interest, today, is what happened afterwards.
Nehemiah 8:2-3 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. 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.
Not only did Ezra read, but other leaders…
v. 7-8 …helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
That’s really cool. Everyone who was capable was given attention so that they understood. They also had a feast and shared with those who had none. This was a great occasion.
v. 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.
v. 17-18 …And there was very great rejoicing. And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God.
The people repented of their sin and rededicated themselves to follow God and to separate themselves from the other peoples around them, as God had directed them in the Law. The wall surrounding Jerusalem was then dedicated. At that ceremony, we find this:
v. 12:43 And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced for God had made them rejoice with great joy, the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.
The joy was heard far away. I’ve often wondered about that. I wonder what that sounded like. How far away do you suppose one could hear it? I know you can hear a high school football game from a long way. There weren’t many people in Jerusalem at that time, so it wasn’t like there were a million people. Still, there were plenty, and it sounds like they all had a really good time.
Can you imagine this? The people rejoiced because the word of God was read to them, taught to them, and they understood it. Everyone who had the ability to understand did. And they rejoiced over it.
Right now, my bible plan just started Deuteronomy. I may need to rethink the way I’m looking at it. I can’t say that I am rejoicing. I would say that has much more to do with me than the material – judging from what happened way back in 500 B.C. or so. I need to re-arrange my thinking on this.
Father, I desire the same joy at reading of the Law that these folks had. Grant me understanding so that I may see what they saw. Make me rejoice! Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers