The focus of this gathering is the Book of the Law, God’s Word delivered by Moses. Especially through Ezra’s leadership, God’s people were reestablished as a people of the book. This meant more to them now than ever, for the visible greatness of impressive institutions such as the former temple had disappeared. Only the promises of God remained. The returned exiles played a great part in compiling the remaining Old Testament books. From this vivid scene we learn much about honoring God’s Word (Neh. 8:1–5) and about how that Word speaks to all (“men and women and all who could understand”; Neh. 8:2-3). Understanding God’s Word is emphasized (Neh. 8:2, 3, 7, 8, 12), as the people are instructed by priests and Levites. They not only understand; they obey (Neh. 8:13–17). And they rejoice (Neh. 8:10, 12, 17).
Believers today are the recipients of this same, now-complete book passed on and preserved by God’s people, a book whose power comes from the God who graciously breathed out its words to give us guidance, safety, and hope on our journey through a fallen world (Ps. 19:7–14; 2 Tim. 3:16). In this Word we are enabled to understand the character of and to actually meet the Word made flesh, the One who was there from the beginning, who was promised, and who came, according to God’s Word (John 1:1–2, 14).
Receiving this Word, both inscripturated and incarnated, brings us, far more than Israel in Nehemiah 8, to rejoice.
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.