Read Nehemiah 7
Nehemiah's appointment of leaders; genealogy of returned exiles; Scriptures read and explained; Feast of Tabernacles observed.
For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said . . . neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh. 8:9-10).
Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, the people had the privilege of restoring the Altar, the Temple, and finally the gates and walls of Jerusalem. It appeared that everything had been completed. But God's ultimate purpose for His people was more than the restoration of buildings and city walls. His intent was for His people to obey His Word.
The necessity of the people knowing the Law of the Lord was evident. Yet the Law had not been read since their return from Babylon. Without knowing God's Word and obeying it, all their efforts would be in vain. Previous failures were a testimony of their incomplete obedience to God's Word. Like the Israelites, we often try to solve problems on our own. We also make our own choices in life without consulting God or His Word. The majority of the time the results are unfavorable. We wonder how we ended up in these situations. We don't consider that we didn't pray or search His Word. Even if God doesn't respond quickly, we still need to wait on Him for the answer. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
When Ezra read from the Book of the Law, explaining the Scriptures day after day, a marvelous revival took place. This was followed by great joy. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink . . . and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them (Neh. 8:12).
Once sin is confessed, God forgives and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. This is why Ezra told the people not to grieve any longer over past sins, saying, the joy of the Lord is your strength (8:10). Since the Lord has accepted us, we can accept ourselves as well as others. This guilt-free conscience is one of the greatest blessings a Christian can possess — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The amazing power of the forgiveness of Christ can be compared to nothing in this world. When we finally surrender our lives to Him, we are supernaturally changed forever.
Thought for Today:
Confession of sin has no value unless we are willing to forsake the sin.
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, had 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 Lt. Col. Walter & Penny Swanson • Staff: Beth Carlton • Government Official: Rep. Ken Calvert (CA) • Country: Guinea (8 million) on the Atlantic coast of western Africa • Major languages: French and tribal languages • Freedom for nationals, but strict limitations on missionaries • 83% Muslim; 12% tribal religions; 4% Roman Catholic; .6% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God for His faithfulness and mercy in keeping all His promises (II Chr. 6:14-15).
Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 1:1-2