DAY 8: STUDY TIME!
Did I mention that this is the best part? OK, maybe I said that about chapter 4 and chapter 7, but this, THIS is the BEST PART!!!!
Are you ready? If you are unfamiliar with the Jewish feasts, your gonna want to catch up real quick. Below are excerpts from Joel Richardson, over at www.joelstrumpet.com, which quickly summarize the feasts to help you understand the significance of what is happening in Nehemiah chapter 8. (ARTICLE SOURCE)
What is important to understand is the crescendo of the timing here. We know that Israel was removed from their land for 70 years so that the land would receive the 70 sabbaths due to it, then the people are brought back in waves. After all this time, we learned back in chapter 5 that the people were not following the Jewish laws, and probably didn't know the law at all, or it was a very distant memory.
Now with the city in tact, the people in the land, the priests, singers and musicians in place, the people are "gathered as one man" in the center of the city and they request Ezra the priest/scribe to read the BOOK. What day did that happen to be? The first day of the 7th month. (vs. 8:2) What day is that? Rosh Hashanah, AKA "The Feast of Trumpets", AKA the Jewish New Year (Sacred Year). Seriously, the timing of the reading of the Word to the people... only God.
Here's a little chart I found online that is helpful if your interested in seeing it more visually:
One last point of interest I found on Jewfaq.org: (Babylonian = Persian)
READ NEHEMIAH CHAPTER 8
I don't know if that hit you the way it hit me, and maybe its because I have a son named Ezra, but it was really significant to me that the people requested Ezra to read the Book of the Law to them (vs.1). The people were hungry for spiritual restoration, not just physical restoration. It is also worth noting that the scriptures were read to the entire family. Women and children were also present here. This is significant. Why? Because in order to bring cultural & spiritual restoration, you need to disciple the entire family.
The revival of the nation began with the reading got the Word. I like the term "rebible". In fact, the church today could really use a good "rebible"! Here is the most recent survey results from Barna:
A couple months ago I met a House of Prayer leader from Mexico who shared that his intercessors take turns reading the Bible aloud in public, just as we see here in Nehemiah chapter 8. They started in the streets, then moved into a bank that was owned by a believer. Then it spread to several other banks. Many were saved, healed, and delivered through the hearing of the Word being read aloud to them. Thats what I call a "rebible"!
My prayer today is that a fresh wind would come over every believer and they would not only be hungry for the Word like never before, they would have revelation understanding like never before. Lord, feed Your sheep Your Word!
Todays reflections are pretty simple for me. I need MORE of THE WORD! How about you? The revival of Israel happened on the first day of the seventh month and from that day forward would be the most joyful time (the blowing of the trumpets) and it was launched with the reading of the WORD. Does the reading of the Word cause you to jump, shout, and sing for joy?
On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you say your hunger for reading the word is at?
What steps will you take to press into the Word? To press into spending more time getting the Word inside you? Talk to the Lord about this and ask Him to help you establish some goals. Consider a different version of the Bible, or a new Bible perhaps. Perhaps even setting apart time to fast from reading, listening, or watching anything other than the Word for a set time period to get "baptized" in the Word once again.
Would you join with me in praying for the Church of America to enter into a "rebible"? This is the way for the truth of who God is to get inside the hearts of the people.
Jesus, I come to You today and ask that you would once again stir my heart to desire Your Word. Spirit of God, help me to understand Your Word with fresh revelation and insight from heaven. Jesus, You are the Word, and as surely as You live in me I ask that Your Word would be alive in me and flow out of me regular through my speech and interactions with others. I align my desire to Your desire, that my speech would be in alignment with Your speech, and Your Word of truth would be loosed over this nation, and the nations of the earth, In Jesus Name, Amen.