Study from God’s Word… Nehemiah, Chapters 8 – 10 … Passage for Reflection: Nehemiah 8: 10 … NIV 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." … 12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
My Journal for Today: These chapters, which I was led to read today from the Book of Nehemiah chronicle one of the most glorious times in the annals of God’s chosen people. In these chapters we read of God’s truth being brought forth by the reading and re-reading of God’s Word in His Law. We also read of the grief and repentance of the people for their acknowledged sin; and finally we read of the celebration of God’s hope which the people are reminded will rest with their coming Messiah. And it was the reading and study of God’s word which kindled this revival.
We, who have sinned against God and His Law; and as we know (from Romans 3: 23), is all of us, ,,, we need to know that we’ll never really experience the joy of God’s redemption and deliverance from sin unless we recognize, acknowledge, and grieve over that sin.
Dr. Smith, at the end of today’s devotional entry, asks one of his probing questions: ”If my worship experience (and that’s how I live life in/through my relationship with Christ) is less than ecstatic, could it be that I have robbed myself of joy by failing to grasp the seriousness of the sin from which I have been saved?” And I maintain that one really cannot or will not be able to grieve over their sin, repent by walking to/with Jesus, and experience the joy of their salvation unless they internalize God’s truth from His word. In other words, we, who believe in and have received God’s salvation, will only live out the joy of our salvation – if - we know God through His word. This truth is aptly summarized in Romans 12: 1-2 by the Apostle for God’s people; and in this truth we see that our joy of being a living sacrifice for God can only come when we separate ourselves from the world’s wisdom and internalize the truth of God to show us God’s good and perfect will.
That’s why God’s people found joy AFTER they had heard and internalized God’s word being read to them by Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Levites. And that’s why those of us who believe in Christ and have received His saving grace, must let God’s word and His truth permeate our being so that we can – like these Hebrews who rebuilt Jerusalem and the Temple – celebrate who we are in God’s family. We Christians need the revival which God’s people experienced in Nehemiah, Chapters 8-10; and I hope we’re all celebrating the joy that can only come when God’s mirror of truth is held up for us and we grieve, seeing ourselves for whom we are in Christ and pursuing Him through our living worship.
My the hope of Christ give us joy!!!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I celebrate You with the worship of my life, knowing what I have done and from whence You have saved me. Amen