Nehemiah chapter 8. The wall is finished. The people are rebuilding their homes and guarding their newly rebuilt wall. Chapter 8 begins to tell the story of how all the people (note it says ALL) gathered to hear the reading of the book of the law of Moses. The people stood from morning until midday listening attentively and crying. Nehemiah told the people not to be sad and mourn, but to rejoice in the word and in the strength of the Lord. The people then went to celebrate God’s word. The next day “the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites” gathered together with Ezra to study the words of the law and seek understanding. The book was brought out and read to the people each day for over a week. The people stayed and still listened attentively.
God gave us His word in written form to be a strength to us, to be a guide to us, to be a help to us. Most of us have Bibles at home (we have around 9 in our home), but how many of us study His word attentively? Can you imagine how much we would learn if we did study his word daily, and study it attentively? From what I understand, in “Bible times” the books of the law were not brought out very often to be read to laypeople. This was a very special event for these citizens, and it is obvious in the way they reacted to it that they were greatly moved by the reading of the word. Do I truly treasure God’s word? I hear his word read in front of me at least 3 times a week most weeks, but do I pay attention and treasure the words in my heart? Do I seek understanding? Do I value the advice given? I cannot say that I would be willing to stand, literally stand up, and listen to the Bible being read to me all day. I think I take for granted that his words are always here at my fingertips.
My prayer is that I would stop taking for granted that firstly, I have a Bible in my possession, and secondly, that I am able to read it daily. Not everyone has a Bible. I pray that I would begin to value and treasure the words I read, to study them all for understanding, and to remember how blessed I am to have God’s words of wisdom right here in my hands.
That being said, don’t forget to share God’s words with others too. It is extremely important that if I am well versed in his word, and “prayed up,” that I attempt to share his love and help with others. Recently, I mailed a Bible to someone because God had laid the burden to do so on my heart. I prayed about it for months before I had the courage to follow through with what God wanted me to do. I have no idea if the Bible ever even reached her, but I do know that wherever the Bible ended up someone will open it and my hope is that they will be blessed by the words therein. I tell you that not to brag on myself, but to show you how God works. He asked me to send that Bible to someone without the promise of me ever knowing that it made it, that it was well-received, or that it will be read. But, I trusted him enough to send it anyway because (like I’ve said before) he is so much smarter than I am. Hopefully the Bible made it to the person I intended and she is studying it and it will be a turning point for her to begin following God and not the world as she has been.
I am thankful that I don’t have to stand in the street to hear God’s word. I am thankful that I have a Bible to study. I am thankful that his advice is written out for me in words I understand and always right here for me.