Witnessing Parents in Worship
Imagine a football stadium filled with people. In the middle of the field there is a platform. The Book of the Law of Moses is brought out and Ezra, the scribe, climbs the steps and begins to read. Hours later, he is still reading, and the people are still listening. They know that when God’s word is opened, God’s voice is heard.
Nehemiah notes that along with the men there were also women, and there were children old enough to understand (Neh. 8:3). Children who are able to read will benefit from being with their parents in worship, and it is the duty of husbands and fathers to make sure that their families hear God’s word both in private and in public.
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Notice the process by which God’s word brings blessing to God’s people. It begins with hearing: “the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law” (Neh. 8:3). Then there is understanding: Nehemiah lists the names of the Levites (Neh. 8:7) who “gave the sense” of the Scriptures “so that the people understood the reading” (Neh. 8:8). This is the work that God has given to preachers today. They are to read the word of God and explain its meaning, so that God’s people can understand its application to their lives.
It is God’s joy to forgive. So let his grace and mercy soothe your repentant tears.
When the people heard and understood the word of God, they realized how far they were from obeying it: “All the people wept as they heard the words of the Law” (Neh. 8:9). Men who seek God often find that the first effect of God’s word is to show us our own hearts and to humble us on account of our many failures. God will often bring us to such a place of conviction, but it is never his purpose to leave us there. The danger inherent in any confession of sin is that it can lead to despair, and that is why Nehemiah turned the attention of God’s grieving people to the joy of the Lord (Neh. 8:10). It is God’s joy to forgive. So let his grace and mercy soothe your repentant tears.
Hearing and understanding God’s word led to confession and then to rejoicing, but the chapter ends with the joy of obedience. On discovering God’s command about the Feast of Booths, the people put God’s word into practice. The word heard and understood produced confession, rejoicing, and obedience. That’s the power of the open Book.
This article is by Colin Smith and is adapted from Daily Strength: A Devotional for Men.
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