Nehemiah 8:1-12

Nehemiah 8:1-12

I read these verses yesterday but I didn’t have enough time to really study it. Verse 9 was not very clear to me so I thought I’d read it again. However, I wasn’t able to do it yesterday because I had two final quizzes to finish.

I was only going to look for the meaning of that one verse this morning but when I read the commentaries from (which I like because it’s very clear and detailed), I was surprised to discover things beyond the words. I’m glad that I delved deeper. There truly is so much more beyond the surface.

Ezra, the scribe and priest, read the Book of the Law before the people of Israel. It says in the story that the “ears of the people were attentive.” It’s amazing how they listened intently from morning until midday (apparently about 6 hours). They had the desire to listen and know what God had to say. Many of us cannot even listen to God’s Word for one hour without being restless. Many cannot even listen at all! I’m not quite sure if the people remained standing the whole time. The only thing it says in verse 5 is that when Ezra opened the Book, everybody stood up. Such honor and respect!

In verse 1 it says, “…they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD has commanded Israel.” Even before Ezra read the Book, people’s hearts were already conditioned to receive the Word of God. It’s true that God is the one who gives us the desire to listen to His Word. It is when God moves in our life and touches our heart that we come to Him.

“This demonstrates that the Spirit of God was at work even before the reading of God’s Word. People do not gather together as one man for the things of God unless the Spirit of God has moved them, and they do not desire God’s Word unless the Spirit of God has moved them.

If you attend to the hearing of the Word of God, it is evidence the Spirit of God is working with you. But it is still important to cooperate with that work and to not resist it. We need to cooperate and flow with the work of God’s Spirit if the Word of God is going to do its full work in us.”

In verses 7 and 8, it says that there were some men who stood beside Ezra and supported him in his ministry. They also helped the people to understand the Law. It is important that we listen to God’s Word but it’s more important that we understand it. Reading and listening to the Word of God are useless if there’s no comprehension. That is why God appoints people to help us decipher His Word.

Teachers of God’s Word are accountable to Him and it is vital that people really understand the message. Their main goal is to deliver God’s Word (not theirs) as clear as possible—not to amuse and entertain. I remember the tag line of the new preaching series in our church: “They entertain, they teach, but there are those that tell of the truth that saves.”

“First, because the things of God are spiritually discerned and not intellectually discerned. The Holy Spirit uses gifted teachers to bring spiritual discernment to us, helping us to understand what God’s Word says.”

The Word of God is obscure to people who don’t have the Spirit of God because His Word is Spirit. It is only discerned by those whose spiritual eyes have been opened by God. Also, even believers sometimes have a hard time comprehending God’s Word. Believers have different gifts and not everybody has the gift to understand everything to a T. This is my second round of reading the Bible but every single time, I discover something new. There’s always a fresh revelation.

“Understanding isn’t only necessary for those who haven’t become familiar with the Bible. Sometimes if we have heard it ten times before, we really don’t understand it for right now. When an art restorer cleans a painting, he reveals things that were always there, but the colors weren’t as bright, and the details weren’t as clear, because they were obscured — then the real impact of the painter’s work can be seen.”

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