This Day in History: 0000-10-08

October 8 – Nehemiah 8:10 & 12 

And Nehemiah continued, ” Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared.
This is a sacred day before our Lord.  Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!

So the people went away to eat and drink at a festival meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them. 

If you have a little extra time today, go and read the whole chapter of Nehemiah 8.  In Nehemiah, the people of Israel returned to Jerusalem after their long exile in Babylon, and as this chapter begins they had just completed the rebuilding of the wall around the city.  God’s people had returned from their exile with renewed fervor for Him. 

So on October 8 Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand.
He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand.
All the people listened closely to the B
ook of the Law. 

Can you feel the devotion of the people as you read these verses?  They had likely never heard the words of scripture.  The Bible says that when Ezra opened the book to start reading they all rose to their feet and when he finished they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. After the Law was read, it says that the Levites took the time to “clearly explain the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.” Then it says that as the people listened and understood the words of the Law they began to weep. The leaders had to quiet them and remind them that this was a day for celebrating, not for mourning.   

And that brings us to the verses we started with.  Can you relate to the people of Israel?  Do you ever find yourself reading and understanding the Word of God only to weep with conviction over our failures as God’s people to live up to His standard?  We can never hope to measure up to Him, but just as Ezra told the people, let’s keep our mourning short and remember that God has made a way.

As we read and understand scripture let it cause us to rejoice!  Our failures are many, but He has covered them all with the blood of the sinless, spotless Lamb of God! Rejoice today in your salvation! Rejoice that you have the Bible in your own language and that you can understand it!  Let it strengthen you as you press on. The joy of the Lord is our strength!