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Rejoicing in the Word of God

By Watchman | February 2, 2012

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.  So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.  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….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… 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.  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.   Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.  Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” …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.   (Nehemiah 8:1-3, 6-10, 12)

     The book of Nehemiah recounts the story of the return of some of the Jews to Jerusalem after the first diaspora and the rebuilding of the wall surrounding Jerusalem; the above passage takes place after the building of the wall, the hanging of the gates, and the registering of the people by genealogy.  The first action of the governor (Nehemiah) and the Levite priest Ezra was to gather the people together in order to reacquaint them with the Law of Moses.   The people stood quietly for hours listening to the Word of God and to the explanations of the passages given by the Levites, then wept and lifted their hands in praise and supplication and worship.  They then went home and celebrated with great feasts because they had heard and understood the laws and goodness of God.  How different from today’s reaction to the Word!

     Can you imagine, dear brothers and sisters, calling together all your friends and family and neighbors together and reading them Scripture for hours; telling them about the way to salvation and the wondrous and awesome authority of our omnipotent and holy God?  Can you imagine them being so overcome with repentance that they begin to weep in sorrow for their sins, and then to lift their arms in praise and celebrate heartily because they now understand  the redeeming power of  the love of the living God?  Probably not.  To our twenty-first century ears, this sounds like a fairy tale which has nothing to do with our reality today.  Yet these people, sinful and unlearned as many of them must have been, were the chosen people of God, a fact that they had deep down never been able to forget.  They had sinned against God and, as a result, had been dispersed amongst the nations, but God in His appointed time brought them back to the land He had given them, and they were now remembering their position as the wife espoused by Jehovah God.  Why does that same rejoicing not take place in the world today?

     God is once more in the process of calling His chosen people out of the nations to which they were sent at the time of the second diaspora and has re-established the nation of Israel, just as He said He would thousands of years ago; many are grateful for the chance to return to the land on which God has set His name, but still have not admitted the power of God to rule His nation.  We who are believers in Jesus as our Lord and our King may be grateful for His salvation and redemptive power, but are we truly rejoicing in His Laws and His Word in the same way the original returnees to Israel did?  Are we, who until recently were assumed to be a Christian people, ready to turn our country over to the authority of God?  It would appear that we are not.  Though most people in the US still identify themselves as Christians, it would seem to me that most mean simply that they believe in some sort of Creator, and are not Muslims, Buddhists or active atheists.  It is far more important in this world  to not offend those who don’t believe in our God and His Son Jesus than to offend God Himself.   Scripture, even in many of our churches, is being so diluted that it is no longer recognizable for what it is: the inerrant word of our righteous and holy Father.  Instead of rejoicing because God gave us a way–in the Scriptures–to know His will, His mind, His heart and His laws, we are instead choosing to elevate to the point of idolatry the will of fallen men.    A warning here:  God will not allow this to stand.  He is just and mighty and He will not give His glory to another.

     In one way, we are far luckier than those long-ago Jewish worshipers:  we have the Word.  We do not have to wait for a gathering in which God’s word can be read and explained to us; we may pick up our Bibles daily and hear His voice speaking to us through the pens of Moses and the Prophets and the Apostles of Christ.  We can give the word to others as well; we can lift up our hands and bow our faces to the ground, and rejoice for the Word of God is as alive today as it was when whispered into the hearts and minds of the prophets!  We can celebrate with music and feasting and thankful hearts that we can hear and receive the eternal word of God; and we should rejoice, for the kingdom of God is at hand!


Topics: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Rejoicing in the Word of God”

  1. Shirley Says:
    February 2nd, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Well spoken, Watchman! I felt as though I were there, hearing, weeping and praising God. Your words “painted” an incredibly moving picture of what that meeting must have been like. Can you imagine people of the church of today standing for hours listening to The Word?!! How pleased God must have been! This makes me so aware of how lukewarm we must appear, compared to the reaction of the people gathered on that day. Thank you for this reminder of how we should be, as Believers, in this latter day – waiting for the return of our Lord.

  2. Susan Rakes Says:
    February 7th, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    This one took my breath away with the description of the building of the walls of Jerusalem..and the reading of God’s Word before the people…The reaction of the people who were so struck in their hearts and consciences that repentance supernaturally followed as the Spirit of God dealt with them…

    Would that it be so achingly sweet a response to His Word today. If they only knew what is taking place right here – and right now – in these last days of what now is their reality.

    Soon now, it is my sincere belief, the bride will be called up and out of this drowning in sin world. I ache for this to happen…and then I remember how good GOD IS and that had He not been so incredibly, and again, supernaturally patient with me until that night He beckoned to me to simply BELIEVE..BELIEVE that He could and that He WOULD do all He said would.

    If but for that night I would be one of those assigned to what would have been my rightful place in the Lake of Fire which burneth forever… ..I am so GRATEFUL that He waited…for His forbearance…….for His unconditional, ♥ come as you are ♥ LOVE. ♥

    I think that as much as I would just simply adore going Home and ceasing to exist in this world of unsaved souls who choose the “god of this world/ Satan over the One true GOD YHVH? I am relieved for my children and grandchildren + other family, that they have the right now moment to say to Him YES! I believe?

    I sorrow for all those who choose the darkness instead of seeking Jesus… Who is standing, in my imagination, as close by to some so as to hear the sound of their life’s blood as it courses through their veins, waiting so patiently for so long a time, in His eagerness that NONE be lost.

    Those who spend their days and their nights like I used to many years ago now.{ A different “me” who seems as a stranger now.} Those who are relishing in unabashed sensual pleasures which are evil. That type of sin which takes many captive and refuses to loosen it’s/his grip on them. I think! If only they too would reach out to”possess” the Lamb of salvation and His forgiveness.
    I know they feel so empty, I did.

    Only through Christ Jesus will any find that which is “missing” in them…Jesus is that missing piece of the puzzle called life for all who have not yet – by whatever fleshly means – discovered that hole, that void in them that no amount of anything else – can ever fill. Jesus fills that void to overflowing!

    Incredible blog here girlie-friend! Sorry it took me a spell to get to it. You always bless me by sharing your posts..I thank you with utmost sincerity. Love ya!

    Give me Jesus! For He is ALL…:) Maranantha! ♥ ♥ † ♥ ♥