A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
This part of the narrative begins in the third person
and appears to be a parallel passage to Ezra 3:1 in which an assembly of all the people is also called in the 7th
month (Nehemiah is present). It seems that the occasion of the completion of the wall was an occasion for rereading the Law, or Torah. Nehemiah will reemerge in the first person in 12:27.
Although women did not always participate in such assemblies
of the people, they along with the children were part of the most solemn occasions (compare Deuteronomy 31:12; Joshua 8:35; 2 Kings 23:2). The people stand and listen for about five hours as Ezra reads through the entire Torah
. Part of the reason for the amount of time required was that there was explanation given as they went along. Their Amen! Amen!
is an affirmation of their agreement with and commitment to God’s Law. Prostration as part of worship was the norm,
as the Hebrew word translated worship
Both Nehemiah and the Levites encourage the people to celebrate
the goodness of God and His blessings. As they continue to read the Law they discover aspects of Jewish practice they had either never known or forgotten, and immediately respond by reestablishing them.
On October 30, 445 B.C., there is a great day of confession
and one of the most beautiful Old Testament prayers is recorded in 9:5-37. When it is concluded, the people bind themselves in writing to follow God faithfully and live by His Law. The list is recorded in chapter 10.
As you read God’s Word, the Bible, do you keep track of His instructions,
directions and commands? Are you committed to applying His will to your life? Read through the commitment made by the Jews and consider whether you are ready to make such a commitment. They include obedience to God’s law, avoidance of marriage with unbelievers, observation of the Sabbath, consistency and significance in giving.
Notice the greatest emphasis is on giving
and recognizing God as owner of all. The reason for this is a natural human tendency to build their self-centeredness on the importance of their personal possessions. So God calls for a spirit of self-sacrifice
in regard to possessions and a recognition that all we have or could have or are able to keep comes from Him and Him alone.
The Jews responded with joy. Do you?
Is giving a key part of your relationship with God? Is your question “How much do I have to give?”
or, more appropriately, “How much do I need to keep?”
Only a believer could understand the joy of the latter position.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2010