Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Education Based on Divine GraceNehemiah 8: 1-8
Key Verse: 6-8 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…They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving meaning so that the people understood what was being read.
In scripture one of the most famous, dramatic, and descriptive verses in the Bible can be found in Hebrews 4:12 which states, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” However, in our everyday lives, many of us may struggle to describe our experience reading scripture as anything remotely like this. Why is that? What is our time with scripture lacking that takes away from our ability to truly understand the power of God’s word? Nehemiah chapter 8 gives us some insight into this matter.
In this chapter, Ezra reads a portion of scripture to a group assembled before him. However, this event could hardly be described as a random group of people passively listening to scripture. To begin with, verse 2 states that both men and women were gathered in the assembly. We see here that the Lord did not discriminate against those who had the right to engage with His word. This passage makes it clear that the word of God is meant for everyone. Secondly, verse 3 states that though Ezra was reading for a long period of time, his audience was listening attentively. This is important to notice because we cannot receive anything from God’s word if we are not carefully paying attention to what God wants to teach us.
The next thing we must be aware of in our own lives is the attitude in which we approach God. Verse 6 indicates that when Ezra opened the word of God, the people’s immediate response was to bow down and worship. How often do we come before God in humility and pure adoration when we study scripture? Learning from God’s word is powerful and should not be taken lightly. Lastly, in verses 7-8 we read how the Levites played a vital role in ensuring that the people understood what was written in God’s law. If we read scripture without making any personal or even communal effort to understand what is in the Bible, we are simply wasting our time. Ezra made sure that the assembly was actively instructed in the Law. This is significant because we gain nothing by passively listening to scripture. God wants us to both understand and apply what we learn from His word in our lives. We cannot make changes in our lives or the world around us if we are unable to use the Bible to grow and develop as children of God. Thus, the truth and power of God’s word will only be revealed to us when we truly seek to comprehend it.
Thought for the Day
The Word of God is as powerful as it was back in the Old Testament.
Long Island Mar Thoma Church, New York