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Nehemiah 8:1-12

Introduction:  For the next few weeks I will be speaking about spiritual revival or renewal.  I will mostly be studying from Nehemiah chapter 8 to the end, but I have another couple of passages I want to study, also.  I believe this church needs spiritual revival; and this revival must begin with God’s Word.  Ezra and Nehemiah had worked for years to restore the material things of Jerusalem.  With that done, they began focusing on spiritual restoration.  In Churches of Christ we have prided ourselves on being a restoration movement.  But somewhere along the way we decided that we have arrived and no more needs to be done.  Therefore, we have gone sour.  We need revival!

I. Reading the Word   vs. 1-8

    A. The people asked for the Word   vs. 1  

    B. Everyone came who was old enough to understand   vs. 2     

    C. When Ezra opened the book, the people stood    vs. 5   

         1. Respect

         2. Body language indicated they wanted to hear with understanding

         3. I Thessalonians 2:13

    D. Worship   vs. 6    

         1. When God speaks, worship naturally follows

         2. Worship involved action, called out, “Amen”; lifted hands; bowed

    E. Ezra read from daybreak to noon   vs. 2   

         1. Why were the people able to listen for half a day? First, their oral culture (before television and printing presses) nourished well-developed listening skills. Second, they obviously hungered to know the Law of God, which had been ignored for so long.[1]

         2. We like short sermons because our days are so full that we don’t have time for the Word

    F. The people listened attentively    vs. 3   

         1. Literally, “While the ears of all the people were towards. …”[2]

         2. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law.  NLB

        3. All the people were eager to hear the book of the law.  NET

    G. The Levites instructed, made clear, translated    vs. 7-8   

The Bible is not a “magic book” that changes people or circumstances because somebody reads it or recites it. God’s Word must be understood before it can enter the heart and release its life-changing power.[3]

II. The effect of the Word on the people   vs. 9-12   

    A. Weeping   vs. 9 

         1. For joy (This was probably the first time many of them had heard the Law read.)

         2. From grief over their sins and disobedience of the Law

    B. Commanded to celebrate     vs. 10-12   

         1. Repentance and confession will come in chapter 9

         2. Jeremiah 15:16

         3. Psalm 19:8

         4. The secret of Christian joy is to believe what God says in His Word and act upon it.[4]

         5. Vs. 10

             a. The joy of the Lord is your strength.   NIV, KJV

             b. The joy of the Lord makes you strong.   New International Readers Version

             c. Your strength ⌊comes from⌋ rejoicing in the Lord.  Holman Christian Standard Bible

             d. He will make you happy and strong.”   Contemporary English Version

Conclusion:  When God’s people get away from loving, reading, and obeying the Word of God, they lose the blessing of God.[5]  Nehemiah 8 challenges our complacent approach to the Bible and our tendency to associate God’s Law with grudging obedience.[6]  If you want real revival, turn to the Scriptures; learn them and love them.

                                                                               

[1]Roberts, M., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1993). Vol. 11: The Preacher's Commentary Series, Volume 11 : Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. Formerly The Communicator's Commentary. (234). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.

[2]Willamson, H. G. M. (2002). Vol. 16: Word Biblical Commentary : Ezra-Nehemiah. (278). Dallas: Word.

[3]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1992). Be determined. On cover: An Old Testament study--Nehemiah. (Ne 8:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[4]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1992). Be determined. On cover: An Old Testament study--Nehemiah. (Ne 8:9). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[5]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1992). Be determined. On cover: An Old Testament study--Nehemiah. (Ne 8:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[6]Roberts, M., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1993). Vol. 11: The Preacher's Commentary Series, Volume 11 : Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. Formerly The Communicator's Commentary. (232). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.

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