Making Much of God's Word
Pastor Dustin Jessee | March 22, 2020
In the first half of Nehemiah, God was preparing a place, but here in chapter 8, God begins preparing the people...
and He prepares them through His Word.
This is exactly how He prepares and sanctifies us... through His Word!
The bulk of chapter 8 deals specifically with the Word of God and its power and effectiveness in our lives.
In fact, throughout chapters 8 through 10, we see a great revival break out. The revival started when the people made much of God's Word!
Let's look at how the people here in Nehemiah 8 viewed the Word of God.
1. They Desired the Word of God
Nehemiah 8:1 says
"Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel."
God's people love God's Word.
2. They Were Attentive to the Word of God.
Nehemiah 8:3 says
"Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law."
These people listened to the Word of God being read from sunrise to midday (probably 5-6 hours).
Notice the verbiage - "...the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law."
There is a big difference in hearing and listening / being attentive.
3. They Honored the Word of God.
Nehemiah 8:5-6 says
"And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground."
How you live your life shows how much you honor the Word of God.
4. They Understood the Word of God.
Nehemiah 8:7-8 says
"Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading."
In verse 7, we see the names of 13 others (Levites) who were prepared to help explain the Torah (the Law) to the people.
This is the key to the whole passage!
You can read God's Word and honor and love God's Word, but if you do not understand God's Word, it's all irrelevant.
This is why discipleship is so important!
But here is the exciting news:
Even though it's not a pleasant experience, when we read and respond to the Word of God, then and only then will we experience the true joy that's found in Christ.
And that's what happened here in our passage. As they understood the Word, the Word brought conviction and repentance...
Nehemiah 8:9 says
"And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, 'This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.' For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law."
... and the repentance brought great joy.
Nehemiah 8:12 says
"And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them."