Spiritual Strength For Each Day

“And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand” (Nehemiah 8:3).

The sequence of events in Nehemiah 8 is very clear. In verse 1, we read that Ezra fetched the book of the law of Moses. He got hold of the Bible. In verse 2, it says that he gathered the people together, and in verse 3, he began to read aloud to them. Then it says something important, “And the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law” (verse 3). In verse 8, it is even emphasized that they, “…read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” This reciprocal action/mutual effect between the preacher and the Church is vital. This means, however, that simultaneously the hearts of the hearers are willing to receive the Word. In Nehemiah 8, the key to overpowering joy in the Lord is shown us, “For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law” (verse 9). Because they were willing to hear the Word and receive it, it had its effect. The people were convicted in their hearts: they came into inward distress, but out of this inward distress the joy of the Lord was born.

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