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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nehemiah 8:8

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

For further study - Nehemiah 8:1-18

This chapter in Nehemiah is an exhortation for each of us to read the Word of God, come to an understanding of the Word, and then to obey the Word. Nehemiah 8:8 tells us how this can happen. The verse explains the process that Ezra, the scribe, used in order for God's Word to be understood and obeyed.

First the people would read the Word. Notice how they would read from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The teacher, Ezra, would stand behind a pulpit, Nehemiah 8:4, and the people would stand as Ezra would read the “holy scriptures”, Nehemiah 8:5.

When someone tells me, based upon Nehemiah 8:4 that I must stand behind a pulpit to preach, I remind them that they must then stand while I preach based on the next verse.

Notice after the Word was read, Nehemiah 8:8, that Ezra would give the sense of the Word. In other words, he would do a Bible study with the people so that they would understand what was being read.

It is interesting to note that the people had a respect for God's Word, as indicated by the fact that they stood as the Word was read. We must first respect God's Word before we can really understand what God is saying to us through it. When we respect and understand His Word, then we will obey His Word, as we see happening in this passage, Nehemiah 8:9-18.

Did you notice the time of the year that the passage takes place? It is in the fall of the year, Nehemiah 8:2, the first day of the seventh month. That is the day that the Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Notice also that as the people read and understood God's Word, they realized that they were to observe the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, Nehemiah 8:14-18. The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated by reading the Word each day, Nehemiah 8:18, in addition to living in their “thatched huts” for the seven days of the feast.

This chapter gives us an understanding of how we are to relate to God's Word. It also looks into the future with the mention of the two Jewish feast days, Trumpets and Tabernacles.

These two Jewish Feasts foretell of the time of the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to the Earth. Christ will come back to the Mount of Olives on the Feast of Trumpets. And the Millennial Kingdom will begin on the Feast of Tabernacles.

Nehemiah 8 is a great chapter that reminds us of the importance of reading, understanding, and obeying God's Word. But also it reminds us of things to come, Bible prophecy that will be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord to read Your Word, understand it and obey it.