People are reformed
- Hanani and Hananiah to protect Jerusalem - Nehemiah 7:1-4
- Dwellers at Jerusalem - 1 Chronicles 9:2-34; Nehemiah 11:1-36
Reading of the law brings repentance - *
- Ezra reads the law - Nehemiah 7:73; 8:1-8
- People encouraged to rejoice - Nehemiah 8:9-12
- Feast law discovered - Nehemiah 8:13-15
- Feast of Tabernacles - Nehemiah 8:16-17**
- Day of solemn assembly - Nehemiah 8:18
- Fasting and repenting - Nehemiah 9:1-3***
- God's past goodness reviewed - Nehemiah 9:4-37****
- Covenant made, names sealed - Nehemiah 9:38; 10:1-39
*Reading of the law - what does hearing the law do? Brings guilt. If you have no thought of guilt, you can not fully understand grace. Recently Father has blessed me with the exhortation by several of HIS saints to be cognizant of how a guiltless grace is the predominant teaching of our day. This type of 'gospel' is detrimental to understanding the true nature of grace. To fully (or to the best or our ability) understand grace, the manifold, magnificence of it, one needs to understand WHY it is needed. If there is no guilt, no understanding of having trespassed against a Holy God and His standard, how can one embrace the beauty of grace...unmerited favor.
Grace - used 159x in the OT and NT -
H2580 - From H2603; graciousness, that is, subjectively (kindness, favor) or objectively (beauty). (First OT instance used Gen 6:8)
G5485 - From G5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude). (First NT instance Luke 2:40).
Webster's Dictionary - 3rd definition - (law) The prerogative of mercy exercised by the executive, as pardon. ~ The executive...GOD, mercy, stooping down, active.
This quote is from a sermon by Spurgeon - "The law never came to save men. It never was its intention at all. It came on purpose to make the evidence complete that salvation by works is impossible, and thus to drive the elect of God to rely wholly on the finished salvation of the gospel."
You can read it in its entirety here: www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0037.htm
G-R-A-C-E - God's Riches At Christ's Expense
In Nehemiah 8:1 - "...and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses..." - the people appear to be seeking.
8:3 - They read from the morning until midday - I am not sure what time 'morning' constitutes, but this would appear to be more than a 45 minute or hour long reading. What diligence! What delight!
"...and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law." Father opens the understanding...all the people were attentive. Lord, help those who are blessed to hear Your word being expounded, taught, preached, to hear, to desire to hear, to fervently seek You to understand Your Word.
8:7 - "...caused the people to understand the law:" - Faithful to explain to the people, to cause them to 'understand' what the Word of God was saying to them.
Understand - H995 - A primitive root; to separate mentally (or distinguish), that is, (generally) understand.
**Feast of Tabernacles - the last feast of the Autumn feasts - (TAT: Trumpets - Atonement - Tabernacles) - the Spring (3) and Summer (1) Feasts were fulfilled by Christ at HIS first coming. I am still intrigued by the Feasts - the richness and depth of how Christ is revealed and fulfilled and to fulfill them is a study that I continually come back to time and time again. Has Jesus, for the church (Jew and Gentile in one body) fulfilled the last 3? Or is the fulfillment to be when HE returns the 2nd time? Lots to learn and explore on that subject!
***Fasting - another interesting study...there is encouragement within the body to re-discover the benefits of fasting. I have not yet availed myself to study the issue...though it is known that Jesus did...and not as the Pharisees, in an attempt to garner the attention and admiration of the people. Can fasting be more than abstaining from food? Is it as pleasing in Father's sight? Benefits?
Fast - H6685 - From H6684; a fast. H6684 - A primitive root; to cover over (the mouth), that is, to fast.
****Nehemiah 9:21 - Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old and their feet swelled not.
- How oft do we 'remember' the goodness and blessings of our Father? Replaying them, telling them to our children, family, friends, etc? Giving HIM all the glory and honor for allowing us to have the trials, tribulations and testings and keeping us in and through them. I like Corrie Ten Boom's quote - "There is no pit so deep, that HE is not deeper still." 40 years of wandering...they were never without a light or cloudy pillar to guide them, food to eat, clothes to wear, and the physical stamina to endure. If HE kept them, HE will keep us. (Matthew 6:25-34).