For billions of people throughout history and around the world, the truth and reality of the Word of God has been unknown for they have never been taught what the Bible has to say. They may have heard about Jesus but no one has explained who He is, line by line and verse by verse from the Word of God. My heart aches for these people, whether they live down the street or half way around the world.
Whenever I read Nehemiah 8, my heart is filled with praise to God for allowing me to have the honor of understanding just a bit of His Word. I am the first to proclaim there are MANY things I do not fully understand, but I thank God that I can at least read the Word of God and comprehend the basic elements of the will of God found in it.
Jerusalem had been destroyed and there had been no trace of the Law for years when God placed on Nehemiah's heart the "burden" of rebuilding the wall around the city and finding again His instructions for His people. Beating impossible odds, Nehemiah and those working with him did in fact rebuild the wall and in due time Ezra and the Levites gathered the people to teach them the Word of the Lord.
Look at Nehemiah 8:5-8 and try to put yourself in the sandals of those gathered there at the time:
"And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up :
And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground .
Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place .
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading ."
They did not just read the Bible, but they taught the people how to understand what they read and heard. These men exemplified the very essence of what a "Bible teacher" is supposed to be.
Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, the people were sad for they realized how far below the standard of the Law they had lived. Even today, many Christians fall into condemnation upon hearing the Word of God. I would say to them what the people were told in Nehemiah 8:9-12:
"And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law .
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength .
So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved .
And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them ."
I pray that we never grow so complacent that we take the Word of God for granted and let it slide to the bottom of our priority lists. I pray that we maintain the JOY of the Lord found in rejoicing in the Word of God as one who finds great spoil. I pray that we remain thankful and humble for the privilege of living in a time when it is available to have our own Bible, sit at the feet of many qualified Bible teachers and read with understanding the wonderful Word and will of God for our lives.
Nice work, B2y! Yes, we must work at giving more of ourselves up to God's will each day. God has given us a matchless prize in Christ Jesus. But we must continue to grow in the faith and love of the Spirit in order to maintain Christian growth. If we don't, it can slip away from us, and we may lose our eternal glory with God. May we hold onto the truth He has given to all who obey the gospel message!
Thanks for sharing, God bless...
Thank you brother, Amen & Amen. I must admit that there have many times throughout my life when I have been complacent. I thank God that he has brought me to a place of renewal.
I read Nehemiah 8, my heart is also as you say "filled with praise to God for allowing me to have the honor of understanding just a bit of His Word" and a hunger for more and more. Thank you Lord.
God bless you