Read Nehemiah 7
Genealogy reveals genuine children of Israel (Neh. 7:6-66). Ezra reads the Law (8:1-8). The joy of the Lord is your strength (8:10). Why (8:12)? A forgotten Law is discovered and fulfilled (8:14-18). P.T.L.
The Law had not been read publicly to the Israelitess since they had returned from Babylon about 100 years earlier. Under Zerubbabel, and later under Ezra and Nehemiah, the people had the privilege and responsibility of restoring the Altar, the Temple, and finally the gates and walls of Jerusalem. But the purpose of God for His people was far more than the restoration of buildings and walls. These things were meaningless unless the people sincerely obeyed His Word and worshiped Him.
Ezra and other Levites read in the Law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading (Neh. 8:8). As a result, a marvelous revival took place. All the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law (8:9). They were overwhelmed with guilt and sorrow when the Law revealed their sin against God.
The Jews continued to weep exceedingly after hearing how they had violated the Lord's Commandments. Once they confessed their sins and repented, Nehemiah . . . and Ezra . . . and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God. . . . neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength (8:9-10). They had extraordinary reasons for joy. God had delivered them from Babylon. He had prospered them and protected them as they built the Temple and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem even though they were threatened with violent opposition.
Ezra told the people not to weep any longer over past sins. All the Lord's people are likewise taught that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). Since the Lord has accepted us, we should accept ourselves as well as all others.
We are taught to rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice (Phil. 4:4). If we are not enjoying a growing relationship with the Lord, it could be because of a lack of prayer or reading His Word, or not recognizing how evil an unconfessed sin is. We who have experienced redemption from Satan's captivity have been delivered from all sin to serve the Savior. Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord. . . . Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ (Col. 3:23-24).
Thought for Today:
I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin (Ps. 32:5).
Through the names required to be registered for priestly service (Neh. 7:64). Christ, our Great High Priest (Heb. 3:1), will soon return, wearing His Name, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16).
7:2 feared bad reverential, heartfelt submission to; 7:3 stand by stand on guard; watches guards; 7:61 seed genealogical descent; 7:65 Urim and Thummim two objects kept in the high priest's breastplate and used to determine the Lord's will (Ex. 28:30); 8:14 booths temporary shelters.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Vincent & Rebecca Naughton • Staff: Clarence Rathbone • Government Officials: Rep. Kenneth Calvert (CA) and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ) • Country: Kenya (29 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Swahili • Religious freedom • 46% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% belief in mystical powers; 6% Muslim; 3% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Sing praises to the Lord (Ex. 15:1-19).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Acts 1:8