Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27, 2012 … And God’s Truth Shall Set You Free

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 271

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Nehemiah, Chapters 8-10 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Nehemiah 8: 1-5; 8-10; 13-14; 18 : [NLT] … {Ezra, the Priest in Jerusalem opens God’s word – their Book of the Law and reads to the people.} Now in midautumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, 1 all the people assembled together as one person at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had given for Israel to obey. 2 So on October 8£ Ezra the priest brought the scroll of the law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. 3 He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people paid close attention to the Book of the Law. 4 Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform that had been made for the occasion. To his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah. To his left stood Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet. …  
{A number of Levites were designated to read and explain God’s word, … likely the Mosaic Books of the Jewish Bible.} 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage. 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the LORD your God.” All the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the law. …  
{In learning from God’s word, traditions like the Festival of Tents were re-instituted. Because of the influence of God’s truth, a revival had broken out for God’s people.} 13 On October 9 the family leaders and the priests and Levites met with Ezra to go over the law in greater detail. 14 As they studied the law, they discovered that the LORD had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should live in shelters during the festival to be held that month. … 18 Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God on each of the seven days of the festival. Then on October 15 they held a solemn assembly, as the law of Moses required. 
Highlight Passage: Nehemiah 9: 1-3; 38 : [NLT] … {Note how the ingestion of God’s truth proceeded confession and getting right before God for the people.} 1 On October 31 the people returned for another observance. This time they fasted and dressed in sackcloth and sprinkled dust on their heads. 2 Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors. 3 The Book of the Law of the LORD their God was read aloud to them for about three hours. Then for three more hours they took turns confessing their sins and worshiping the LORD their God. …  
{In the passage of Nehemiah 9, verses 6-38, Nehemiah (through his scribe, Ezra) summarize the prayers and reflections of the Levites, preaching/teaching to the people in response and revival to God’s word, where they reflect on their sinful history of God’s people and their need to repent and be obedient to God’s commands and recipients of His Promises.}38 “Yet in spite of all this, we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing. On this sealed document are the names of our princes and Levites and priests.”
Highlight Passage: Nehemiah 10: 1…; 28-29; : [NLT] … {The people felt compelled to take an oath before God – which was very serious business to these believers – that they would uphold and live by God’s commands in His word.} 1 The document was ratified and sealed with the following names: {All of the names of those committed to repentance were listed in verses 2-27.} 
28 The rest of the people—the priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, Temple servants, and all who had separated themselves from the pagan people of the land in order to serve God, and who were old enough to understand — 29 now all heartily bound themselves with an oath. They vowed to accept the curse of God if they failed to obey the law of God as issued by his servant Moses. They solemnly promised to carefully follow all the commands, laws, and regulations of the LORD their LORD.{Note that God’s truth being revealed, after the Temple and walls being rebuilt, led to confession, repentance, and revival of God’s designated faith disciplines, which then in turn led to commitment and oaths of surrender to God’s word and His will for the lives of God’s people.}

Cross Reference Passage: James 5: 16 : [NLT] …{Note the correlation of this NT truth with Nehemiah 9: 2-3 where God’s people, inspired by God’s word, confessed and repented openly their sins.} Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.  
Cross Reference Passage: John 8: 31-32 : [NLT] 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

My Journal for Today: Today I was led to review, study, and meditate on Nehemiah, Chapters 8-10; and these chapters are uplifting – at least to this humble seeker of God’s truth – with the promise of God’s power to change sinful people by the truth of God’s word and the blood of His Son.

Chapter 8 of Nehemiah recounts the story of what happened after Ezra had led the rebuilding of the Temple and Nehemiah had led the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem. And the issue for God’s people was “NOW WHAT DO WE DO?” And this is a question that continually is before God’s people, most certainly Christians today. It’s the question, “What does a believer do once he truly believes in the Gospel and the saving power of God?” Well, Chapter 8 of Nehemiah presents a model of the “HOW” of repentance and revival.

And we see the cooperation of Ezra and Nehemiah as well as the active participation of Godly, well-trained teachers, who were called upon by Ezra to help him bring Gods’ word back into the lives of God’s people. And when the people heard the word, they were overwhelmed with conviction and grief, and a revival of repentance broke out. It’s really a powerful example of the truth of what Isaiah had written over 100 years earlier in Isaiah 55: 11 … that God’s word is the power of God’s Spirit when it goes forth, for His purposes, and is received by His people. And that’s exactly what happened as you can read in Nehemiah 8, which caused a revival in commitment for the people to live according to God’s truth (see Nehemiah, Chapter 9-10).

This raises questions for believers today. First, are we going deeply into God’s word with the determination to know God as we read in Nehemiah 8? … Secondly, has God’s truth captured our hearts, leading to a personal revival of seeking God’s will from His word and living according to His ways? … And finally, have we made repentant commitments to walk according to God’s commands, … setting up disciplined accountability mechanisms to keep us on track when convicted by God’s mirror of truth to change by following Him?

I’m dealing – with conviction – with those questions right now. I’ll leave them for your consideration here today as well.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, help me to keep on keeping on with the commitments and battle plans I have set in motion to keep me in Your word and living according to Your precepts. Amen

No comments: