Nehemiah 8:1 The people of Israel had been living in exile in Babylon for 70 years. They had just returned to the land of Israel and rebuilt Jerusalem. Now Ezra is teaching the people how to live according to God’s commandments.
Nehemiah 8:2-8 The people stood as Ezra read the Scriptures from early morning until midday. Ezra blessed the LORD, and the people answered “Amen, amen” while lifting up their hands. The scene is one of profound reverence for Scripture.
Nehemiah 8:9-10 Hearing the Law of God read and explained resulted in heartfelt repentance. Such godly sorrow proceeds repentance, which, in turn, ultimately leads to salvation and joy (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). At his heart, God is not looking to make us sorrowful or depressed. In his presence, there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
Nehemiah 8:11-12 The end point of an honest encounter with Scripture is joy, both for the individual as well as the community. So often God linked worship with festivals of abundance and sharing with those in need.
Nehemiah 8:13-16 The people came back for a second day! When they learned about the festival of booth (tabernacles), they immediately decided to act.
Nehemiah 8:17-18 Without joy, we shrivel up and can even get physically sick. If you are living according to Scripture, your life should be characterized by joy. We have joy because of our relationship with God, the source of all true joy. This joy is our strength, our fortress, our stronghold.
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Weekly Bible Teaching Archive