I hope you’ve been enjoying our time through Nehemiah. We have an amazing passage to look at today! We see a beautiful glimpse of what it looks like to be a people who love and desire God’s Word in their lives. My encouragement to us today is to understand that, in a way, this is how God desires for us to respond to His Word. The Bible is the primary way that God has revealed Himself to us, and when we realize that God is our ultimate need, the Bible becomes our primary way to meet that need. I pray that God would use His Spirit to make these things true of us today:
- The people were attentive to the Word. (v. 3) As soon as Ezra opened the book, the people gave their full attention to it. They knew that the Bible was how they met with God. How would you measure your attentiveness when reading the Bible? What does this say about your desire for God?
- The people revered the Word. (v. 5) The people standing was a sign of honor. They loved, respected, and feared the Word, which stirred up reverence in their hearts. Does your reverence for God’s Word lead you to desire to honoring it with your life by obeying it?
- The people worshipped because of the Word. (v. 6a) Often we think of singing as the sole mode of worship on a Sunday morning, but the preaching and receiving of the Word (along with giving, serving, etc.) is also worship! Hearing the Word led the people to lift up their hands and bow their heads in response. Is your reading of God’s Word more worshipful or mechanic? Do you respond to it in worship or do you just cross it off your list?
- The people were humbled by the Word. (v. 6b) The people bowed their heads, and in a few verses (v. 9-12) we will see that seeing themselves in light of who God is made them weep. When you read the Bible, are you regularly being convicted of your sin?
- The people desired to understand the Word. (v. 7-8) The leaders and teachers had a desire to explain the Word clearly, but it also seems that the people really desired to understand it for themselves. Their hunger to know God led them to desire to understand it fully. Can this be said of you?
- The people received joy from the Word. (v. 9-12) In response to the Word, they were exposed to their need for God and wept. But the good news for them and us is that with the conviction of sin comes the hope of forgiveness. Throughout the Bible we are pointed to Christ who gives ultimate hope that leads us to have ultimate joy.
And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (v. 10b)
This passage can be applied to listening to sermons on Sunday morning (or any other time through the week), personal Bible study, and small groups as well. Another thing: one of the best things you can do with your summer is join a Summer Bible Study where you can apply this as well! You can find out more information here.
In the comments, respond with something that God brought to your attention through our passage.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice