The Lord Renews
Nehemiah 8: 10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
Israel had just returned from captivity in Babylon and had rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and were setting their goal of rebuilding the Temple and restoring the nation.
Nehemiah 8: 1 all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.
I would like for all of you to realize that the gathering was not a small crowd as many scholars believe this gathering was a crowd of some 50,000 people. A football stadium sized crowd.
Ezra spoke to this crowd and spoke of the laws as were told to Moses.
Nehemiah 8: 2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law
Rather than being impatient as you have witnessed congregations to be with long sermons, this gathering were hungry for God’s Word and willingly listened and hung on to every word.
Nehemiah 8: 5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, "Amen! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
This had to be one of the most fulfilling revivals of faith ever witnessed by man. There were no loudspeakers, music making entertainers or many of the modern methods used by what we now know as, ‘mega-churches,’ only a gathering eagerly listening to the Words of God.
Even more surprisingly this preaching and teaching continued for days.
How many of you have witnessed such a revival of faith that went on for 7 – 8 days, 6 hours each day and no one departed the gathering?
Contrary to the preaching and teachings we see today there was no dramatic testimony, no music, no wild eyed preaching from a pulpit. There was only a rapt attentiveness and rejoicing at the wonders of being taught God’s Word.
The people were hungry to hear God’s Word taught to them in a manner that was easily understood.
Nehemiah 8: 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read. 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
As you hear, or read, the sermons I send, if you really understand the Word I preach you may realize that I repeat the word, ‘repent,’ often. When the gathering of that crowd of 50,000 of God’s true believers occurred they all wept and thew themselves to the ground openly stating their repentance. So much did they weep that Nehemiah had to tell them to cease weeping and dry their tears. As he said, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
I say to you, as True Christians, believing in the salvation offered to any that truly repent, confess to God as they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. You must realize that the gathering before Nehemiah and Ezra were not privy to the Words of Jesus Christ as have been revealed to you. At that time there was no New Testament as Jesus had yet to be brought to earth by God the Father. Theirs was a showing of faith in what was to be.
The purpose of the gathering that called for by Nehemiah was not for the sake of those that truly believed but was for those that had backslidden! That gathering of both true believers and your prophets the backslidden resulted in the renewal of faith of both groups!
Nehemiah 9: 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.
God had sent prophets to His people who ignored those prophets. He had allowed them to be enslaved by Babylonians. In His Divine Mercy He relented, set them free and sent new prophets to revive their faith by having His Word taught to them in clear and understandable terms.
God had led Israel from Egypt , guided them by day and night and led them to the land He had promised them. He had provided food, water, protection and all that was needed to see them trough any hardships only to have them rebel against His almighty power. Time and again He showed His mercy and when asked, His forgiveness.
Today…this very day He promises to do the same for anyone, Jew or Gentile, and ease their suffering. He has promised to pour out mercy upon those that accept Him as their only God, Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit as their Comforter.
It is sad to see that there are all too many that choose to live in the wilderness as they deny God and all of His Divinity. Not only do they deny Him but are disobedient to His Commands and openly rebel against His Word. They choose to persecute His people, speak against Christianity and believe in their own imaginations of greatness.
Nehemiah 9: 29 "You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them. Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen.”
Woe to them that refuse His Word. Woe to them that refuse to see Him as the One True God.
We, God’s children must maintain our love for Him, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, praise and worship Him, honor Him through obedience as we hunger for His Word.
We true Christians must realize that God has chosen to seek us out and offer us His salvation. He has promised to forgive those who ask for forgiveness, repent, and accept the salvation firm in the belief that Jesus Christ was crucified so that we might be saved.
I ask each of you to rest assured that your trials here on earth are temporary and will end in the peace God has so mercifully promised His children. It is His strength that will see us through.
Heavenly Father, You who created us all, we come to You with praise on our lips and worship in our hearts. We ask that You accept our faith as being fresh, strong and renewed as we bow our heads to You. Just as Your children of long ago confessed their belief in You, we do likewise. You are our God, there is no other.
We wish to thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to act as our Lord and Savior. The gifts bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit are indeed wondrous and are our source of.Christian strength.
Father we wish to have You know that our faith in You is real and shall endure until the end. Whether that end be our earthly demise or of the End Times is Your decision to make and we will abide with Your will secure in the knowledge of Your love for us.
Father, renew our hearts, accept our love and strengthen us for the rigors that lie in our journey through this life. Be with our military, those charged with our national security and awaken those that stand against us so that they too may see You as the reason for their lives.
We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and Our Lord and Savior, who is One with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever,
Amen, amen and amen.