Nehemiah 8-10
(Back to School Week)
May 20th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Ezra read from the book of the law of God day after day, from the first day to the last. They kept the feast for seven days, and the solemn assembly on the eighth day, as was required.

- Nehemiah 8:18 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

The temple had been restored as a center of worship. The wall had been rebuilt as a protective measure and symbolic structure. With both of these in place, the leaders of the remnants of Israel could focus the people on restoring their spiritual hearts. Ezra re-appears in the story line as Nehemiah reports that this man of God dedicated seven days to reading the Book of Law (Pentatauch, or Book of Instruction) to the people:

    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. 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.
    - Nehemiah 8:2-3 (NIV)

Then the Levites explained the instructions to them so that they could live peacefully with each other, as described in chapter 8. The people of Jerusalem wept when they realized how far they had strayed from the law, but Nehemiah said it was a time to celebrate, ďfor the job of the LORD is your strength (8:10 - NIV).Ē All those present then celebrated in ways not done for many generations. In chapter 9, the Levites reviewed the history of Israel from Abraham to the current time and the Israelites confessed their sins.

Afterwards, the people formed a new covenant, promised to worship God, not marry foreigners, and to give their first fruits and offerings to the Levites, as noted in chapters 9 and 10.

Reflection and Application

Every person has a different calling from God. Nehemiah was a political leader, not a religious leader, but he dedicated his life to God and led the people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, as we read over the last couple of days. His ally Ezra had a heart for God and had been blessed with many skills that he put to use. We read in the previous book that Ezra had served as the project manager for the rebuilding of the temple and we read today that he led the teaching of the people.

There may be many different types of roles that God wants each of us to play. We may have confirmed that we have at least one talent that can be used to serve God, but there may be additional ones that are dormant or not fully recognized. Remember how Moses didnít think he was a good public speaker? But by the end of Deuteronomy he was delivering eloquent speeches to 1 million people.

Itís easy for people to forget the history of what God has done for us. Like the Israelites, we become caught up in survival mode, and then if we do survive we often forget to go back to worship God and give thanks for our rescue. When we forget to return to him our knowledge of the LORD fades and we lose our ability to pass it on. All of us can be teachers for our contemporaries and the next generation by living the life God plans for us as described in his book of instruction. If we sincerely worship him and respect each other on a consistent basis then we are leading by example.

For further reflection on chapter 8 we recommend a sermon by the Rev. Sam Schreiner of the Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien, CT. This is the third installment of four sermons on the book of Nehemiah. This sermon includes a summary of some of the previous chapters and an emphasis on the importance of re-building the souls of the people within the walls. You can listen to the sermon by clicking the object below:

"Taking the Path to Joy," Nehemiah 6:15,16; 8:2-12

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Have you discovered any hidden skills in yourself during the past year or so?
    2. What is the covenant that you would like to make with God today?
    3. What specific acts can we do today to serve as witnesses for God?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know your word is worthy of deep and regular study. Please help us to dwell on your wisdom.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Religous Teachers

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Nehemiah 11-13 (Getting Jerusalem Back on its Feet)

    Comments and Questions
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